Waiter from Singaraja

Name: Gusti Nyoman Artawan
Age: 37
Occupation: Waiter
From: Singaraja

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

I think the country is in the same situation. We still have to work on ending political corruption.

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

I felt very sad because he was a leader, and even though he wasn’t perfect, he was a president who accomplished many things for Indonesia.

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

Jakarta politics is not relevant to all the islands in Indonesia. A lot of the decisions Jakarta politicians make only have to do with a certain elite political group. The islands have autonomy, so each island’s local government has more of an effect on the people than the central government does.

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

The main industry in Indonesia is still agriculture. People have to eat. Improving the agriculture industry is where our power comes from. The majority of people’s livelihoods in this country depend on agriculture.

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

If I were to run this country, I would:

1) Create jobs and stimulate economic growth;

2) Help the poor move above the poverty line;

3) Improve education.

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 get elected?

Candidates have to work on security and safety in Bali. Tourists here need to feel safe and happy. Law enforcement must improve. Bali’s economy relies on tourism. Candidates also have to make sure to work on improving education and literacy. Lastly, we also have to work on protecting people’s health in Bali.

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?

It’s true that Indonesia is made up of different ethnicities, religions, islands and dialects, but we are still one people. We still have a national language, Bahasa Indonesia, and we are one nation.

What does being Indonesian mean to you?

Even though the country is divided into different religions and ethnicities, the people are still united under one nation. Being Indonesian means we are united in diversity.

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

Australia and Indonesia are very close, so the relationship is important. The decisions we make affect each other. Our economies and politics cross path and are interlinked.

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

The greatest moment since then took place in the 1950s, when the ideals of Sumpah Pemuda (Youth Pledge) helped to stop rebellions.

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The Big Questions

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