The Indonesian Way

What’s Abd?!!

The recent tragedy of the water dam that broke in Jakarta, Indonesia resulted in several dead bodies. In my opinion, the tragedy was merely an accident waiting to happen. It was only a matter of time before the dam or anything in Indonesia, would give way and along with it taking several lives.

As President Bambang Yudhoyono rallies on his countrymen to stamp out corruption, the habits of Indonesians are hard to die simply because Indonesia is a country with more than 1500 islands ranging from the majestic Sumatra to the many small islands of which not even every Indonesian is proficient in.

The tragedy of the dam would be a good example of how corruption works in Indonesia. As reported, the cause of the tragedy was due to poor foundation during the construction of the dam of which the base was not made of concrete.

It is by no means a secret that when doing business in Indonesia, the principal amount set aside for construction would pass through several hands before reaching the construction company. As the money passes through the many hands of the so-called middle men, substantial amounts of money are taken out and kept by these middle men. Such corroboration ensures that construction work will take place within a shorter time frame and success is measured by the completion of the project and the fat pockets of those involved.

Whilst I may seem to be slandering Indonesians, as a visiting resident/ citizen of Indonesia, I do have credible information to support such an accusation. Perhaps the case mentioned above would be too drastic to be used as an example so let me just quote an example which came directly from a friend of mine who works for the Indonesian government.

A good example would be in the construction of roads in the country. The government would set a side an amount and request for tender. Companies would then bid for the tender and the winning bid would be awarded to the company that is able to offer a cut from the amount to the official managing the project. Further to that, let’s say that the road specification requires the company to mix 80% tar with 20% cement for a road thickness of 10cm. The constructed road would probably contain 40% tar and 60% cement with a thickness of 6cm. The missing amount of money would have been pocketed by the construction company. Objective of constructing a road would have been accomplished but the life span and usability of the road would have been shortened resulting in gaping holes with wear and tear that most of us experience when visiting Indonesia.

Nonetheless, corruption is still rampant country-wide and it will definitely take a long period of time before corruption in the country can be put to a minimum or within a level of comfortable control. As Indonesians go to the polls this April 9th to vote for their Caleg (Legislative Representative), I urge you to vote for the party member who will ensure that the future of your country and children are well-taken care of.

My recent trip to Indonesia also enlightened me on how much corroboration and collaboration as well as cooperation that Singapore has with Indonesia. Didn’t you know that the late Soeharto was really a close friend of …….

Until it’s fixed, corruption is a way for life in Indonesia. Don’t blame them because you never know when your integrity will be at stake.

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