Man of Contradictions

Joko Widodo and the struggle to remake Indonesia by Benjamin Bland

During the early months of covid, i was pretty confident that our government would do the right thing, learn from countries that experienced it, and enact the best policies for our country. When that didnt happen, i was in state of confusion and lost. I was trying to look for answers of my beloved president.

Why was he acting the way he was in regards to covid? Were the people around him inadequate, did he really understood that Indonesians would not follow protocols, was this the best way forward for Indonesians?

When Benjamin Bland started to promote his book, i was predictably impatient in getting my hands on it. I pre-ordered on 24th June 2020, and only arrived in November. A good 3 month wait till the launch and another 2 month wait in the mail no thanks to covid.

By then, my state has drastically changed, and i saw the government and Indonesia more clearly than before. I have become jaded by the promises and realized that i have been fooled before.

I decided to finally pick up the book after sitting on my desk for afew weeks and this what i have to say.

Reading the book make me more calm. It’s surprising really. It painted me the man in clearer terms the one that is handling our covid situation, a novel situation for many, but not necessarily one that is impossible to crack or control. You can clearly see the limits of oneself when put forth such conditions. It was the man that was always been there before, nothing really changed, except our expectations of him.

The Indonesians put him on the national stage, because that was the aspirations of the people, including mine. But is he right person for the job? Did we know clearly or did we just pinned our hopes blindly?

Is the government or the president important?

I’ve asked this so many times, i thought back about what Warren Buffet said when asked who would win the 2016 elections

“That won’t be the main problem” … the company will “do fine”

“The system works very well with aggregate output,”

What is the system that Buffet is talking about? Is it the people, the public infrastructure, the ministries, the courts?

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