Please first read Parts 1, 2 and 3.
We are controlled by tiny corporate entities that have no loyalty to the nation and indeed in the language of traditional patriotism are traitors. They strip us of our resources, keep us politically passive and enrich themselves at our expense.
– Robert E. Gamer: Developing Nations: A Comparative Perspective
“No loyalty to the nation?”
Excerpt from a profile in The Peak magazine (Sept. 2011)
After a long career of success, in which he made his family’s company into one of the most successful in the country, Putera Sampoerna says his business days are totally behind him.
Putera says that since the day he was born, he has been surrounded by people who believe in the virtues of hard work and dedication. It’s a value he has passed on to his children, and one he wants to pass on to the rest of Indonesia.
Despite having been born and educated abroad, Putera says he is dedicated to Indonesia and is proud to be a citizen of the country. “Indonesia has shaped who my family is today,” he said. “And it’s time to give back.”
Putera now lives in Singapore with his wife Kathleen.
Language is but a tool, but it must be used with care. My Indonesian is not strong enough to grasp the many levels and subtleties of the language, but my English most certainly is. If Putera Sampoerna chooses to use English, and he has a distinct, albeit faint, American accent when he speaks, then I am justified in offering this criticism, and my opinions of the man based on what he has said and written, and what others say about him in his presence.
His ‘Pearls of Wisdom’
There is a page on his blog – yes, he’s copied my example – containing bon mots presumably intended for the students in his various educational institutions.
Glossing over Winston Churchill’s alleged quote: “Keep Buggering On!!!”, several references can be found to the fact that many students, being Indonesian, are Muslim.
I don’t know what religion PS has on his KTP*, the Indonesian ID card meant to be carried at all times, but I suspect that he is Christian. He should know that in the New Testament it says this:
Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine.
Suggesting that some, many or any, of his students are ‘swine’ (pigs, hogs, etc.) is incredibly offensive.
Furthermore, as Michael Quinion, a lexicographer of some repute who runs World Wide Words, explains: The idea goes back … to one of the oldest books of the Bible:
No mention shall be made of coral, or of pearls: for the price of wisdom is above rubies.
Job, chapter 28, verse 18
These days ‘pearls of wisdom’ has to be classed as a cliché, a hackneyed phrase whose shine has been worn off through constant repetition.
So, methinks it’s time to go back to (language) school PS.
However, if he really does think of his students as ‘swine’, then he is subliminally alerting us to his true intentions.
*Students in the PSF educational institutes profess five different religions. For whatever reason, practical, financial or spiritual, PS is to be congratulated for his ecumenical approach.
In entrapping students into a working life of servitude – the 30-year student loan repayment programme run by PSF graduates – PS seems to be echoing Jesus who, in Matthew 4:19, “… said unto them, follow me and I will make you fishers of men.” (Or boys and girls?)
(Read this evangelical sermon but substitute ‘Putera Sampoerna’ for ‘God’, and ‘PSF’ for ‘church’, then try and spot the differences – if there are any.)
Intellectually immature yet academically gifted children of financially disadvantaged parents are easy targets. There are few parents who don’t wish the best for their children and don’t want them to fulfil their potential. Having PSF reach out and grab them, to feed, clothe and house them, and to put them through international schooling with other ‘gifted’ children, must be like winning a lottery or being struck by lightning. (The odds against either are very low, and both have potentially dangerous consequences.)
PS is by no means the first ‘visionary’ to ‘take’ children from their parents. Robert Owen (1771-1858), who owned a mill town, New Lanark (now a UNESCO World Heritage Site), was a philanthropist and social reformer and early co-operative pioneer. At that time, other factory owners paid their workers in part or totally with tokens, which were only redeemable in the company store, which often supplied shoddy goods at extortionate prices. Owen’s, however, were discounted retail shops whose profits were passed on to his employees.
Through the practical application of his ‘socialist’ vision, which included model housing, Owen came to believe that man’s character is made by circumstances over which he had no control, “that he is not a proper subject either of praise or blame.” In 1813 he published two of the four essays in A New View of Society; or, Essays on the Principle of the Formation of the Human Character, in which he expounded the principles on which his system of educational philanthropy was based. These principles lead him to the practical conclusion that the great secret in the right formation of man’s character is to place him under the proper influences – physical, moral and social – from his earliest years. Hence, Owen became an early pioneer of elementary schooling, what the Indonesian government calls ‘character building’.
Contrast that with the neo-capitalism of Putera Sampoerna (1947-?) ……… whose foundation (PSF) is committed to create Indonesian future leaders and entrepreneurs of high caliber with strong moral fiber.
A PSF student, Anto commented on The Usefulness of a University Education.
“After spending 7 years in the university, my conclusion is [that] higher education does not contribute much in changing a person’s mindset. I found that one’s character, mindset and intellectuality does not change. Is it possible that these characters / factors have been permanently shaped during elementary school and high school?”
Of course they are Anto, and surely that is why PS tells us that since 2005 PSF’s School Development Outreach (SDO), which is aimed at improving the quality of schools, including the quality of educators and educational staff, has served 118 schools and 9 madrasas involving 23,000 teachers. These programs are delivered through a comprehensive whole school development approach.
As a qualified educator and a professional through most of my working life, I have to ask the following:
- In saying that “true to the mandate of the Constitution (UUD), education is indeed the government’s responsibility”, what right does PSF have to run ‘leadership’ programmes?
- Who trains the teacher-trainers, and what is the educational philosophy and classroom methodology they are being taught?
In The Social System (1826), Robert Owen wrote: “To train and educate the rising generation will at all times be the first object of society, to which every other will be subordinate.”
Yes, in spite of 20% of the country’s annual budget being allocated to the education sector, as mandated by the Constitution, and, yes, academically bright children do need education to enhance their talents as, indeed do all children, I agree that Indonesia lags behind other countries in this sector. I’ve been saying this on Jakartass for over nine years.
However, in allowing the Putera Sampoerna Foundation to run its stated programmes, we are witnessing yet another delegation of responsibility, a capitulation to a non-accountable self-elected élite by the nation’s elected representatives who are, for better or seemingly worse, those chosen to be the country’s leaders.
Why CSIS and not the Indonesian Government?
“The structures of power that exist are working to their own ends to extend their own capability at the expense of the freedom of our publics.”
– Edward Snowden
The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) is not to be confused with the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (Indonesia), a think tank for the government on social, international, political and economic issues whose mission is to contribute to improved policy making through policy-oriented research, dialogue, and public debate.
Those two emboldened words encapsulate what the CSIS sponsoring Putera Sampoerna is not. A quick glance at its Board of Trustees page should make that patently clear. Start with Henry Kissinger, former director of Freeport, whose hands were bloodied in Indonesia before he became an architect of the Vietnam war.
The key question I’ve been reaching for in this series is this:
– Why is “leadership potential” a priority in the PSF programs?
– Furthermore, why is PSF doing this in partnership with American neo-cons?
The answers are clearly articulated in this recorded hour long CSIS Seminar – skip to minute 41. To make it easier, I’ve cut an excerpt and converted it to an .mp3 file so you can listen along as PS says:
- “I don’t have to educate everybody. I can educate the best.”
- “We take in the top 5% academically from middle schools (SMP), and then put them through a very rigorous ‘culling‘ process for those kids who show leadership potential.”
- “The cooperative has clients – partnerships* with corporations such as Exxon … and Citibank who take the kids (i.e. post university graduation) on a ‘bonded’ basis.”
- “I don’t have to solve the country’s education (sic) ; that’s for my Minister of Education to solve.”
The following ‘anecdote’ can also be read in the closing paragraph of this interview.
A lady journalist asked me at a press conference, “Putera, why are you doing all this?”
I sat there and said,”Have you seen my kids? They’re top notch, right?”
“I’ve got 250 kids out there. Our Parliament is made up of 500 individuals. Now imagine if our parliament was made up of 250 of my kids.
“There’s nothing to say … it’s obvious.”
Yes, it is.
However, I’ll leave it to conspiracy theorists to determine and state categorically that Putera Sampoerna is planning a coup.
He is obviously furthering his “dream” in league with American neo-cons and multi-national corporations; this could well fit in with the ‘world government‘ plans of Exxon, Citibank, the Rockefellers, the Rothschilds and the masons.
All four parts of Putera Sampoerna – Saint or Sinner? are available in sequence or download as a .doc.
Mea culpa – ‘Er Indoors has just told me that we once, a dozen years or so ago, hobnobbed with the Sampoerna clan on their island, one of the supposed 1000 in Jakarta Bay, and that their rather expensive yacht brought us back to shore.