interview 49

Name : I Ketut Ketel
Age : 67
Location : Kerobokan
Occupation : Farmer

Is the country better or worse since former president Suharto stepped down 10 years ago?

I think it’s worse because there’s a lot of corruption and negative thinking in the country now.

How did you feel when you heard he died in January?

I felt sad to hear it because he led the country for such a long time. I hope God has a good place for him.

Is Jakarta politics relevant to your life, or is it ruled by elites who are out of touch with the people?

I don’t know much about politics but I hope the government will always look out for the poor and impoverished.

What does Indonesia have to do to become an economic powerhouse once again?

We have to realize that it’s not only the government’s duty to improve the country; it’s the duty of the entire society. We all have to do our part.

If you were running the country, what three things would you fix or change immediately?

1. Create equality in the distribution of wealth.

2. Improve public education.

3. Improve security across the country.

The people of Bali vote for a new governor later this year. What would you say to the field of candidates right now? What do they need to promise in order to be elected?

I don’t know. I don’t think it matters what they promise. What matters is whether or not the new governor will keep his promises. Politicians make lots of promises but rarely carry through with them.

Indonesia is made up of more than 17,500 islands, many religions, dozens of ethnic groups and hundreds of local dialects. Therefore, is it reasonable to expect “unity in diversity” as the founding fathers said?

Yes, because our differences are what make this country beautiful. Differences aren’t bad. We are a big collection of people that you won’t find in any other country.

What does being Indonesian mean to you? What sets you apart from, say, neighboring Singapore, Brunei and Malaysia?

I am proud to be Indonesian because Indonesia is beautiful, even though it’s a poor country and the standard of living may be low.

Why do you think Indonesia has always had such a testy relationship with its neighbor Australia?

I think the two countries have different and separate approaches to politics, which is why they have a testy relationship with each other.

Do you see more bumps ahead in bilateral ties between the two countries, or are we now on solid ground?

I believe the relationship will be solid again because the two countries rely on each other to fulfill specific needs.

What, for you, has been Indonesia’s greatest moment since it declared independence in 1945?

When society was officially freed from tyranny.

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The Big Questions

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