NAME: Yulianus Sedi Satunggaga
AGE: 31
ORIGIN: Sulawesi

Is the country better or worse since former president Suharto stepped down 10 years ago?
It was better before. I liked Suharto.

How did you feel when you heard he died last year?
I was sad because he had a lot of good ideas.

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

I think their politics are okay for us because there are a lot of different people ruling this country.

What does Indonesia have to do to become an economic powerhouse once again?
I lived in Japan for a while, and over there people pay high taxes, which the government uses to improve the country. Indonesia should do the same.

If you were running the country, what three things would you fix or change immediately?
I would focus on the economy. I would keep all of our resources, such as oil, for ourselves. And I would try to keep the nation united.

What do you think of Bali’s government?

I don’t think they are doing anything special. They’re just another government.

Indonesia is made up of more than 17,500 islands, many religions, dozens of ethnic groups and hundreds of dialects. Therefore, is it reasonable to expect “Unity in Diversity,” as the founding fathers declared?
I want to believe in it. I think it is possible to expect such a thing.

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

Being Indonesian is my national identity, and it’s special. The Dutch colonized Indonesia; the English colonized Singapore. This gave us different mentalities.

Why do you think Indonesia has always had such a testy relationship with its neighbor Australia?
Australians are very friendly, but in East Timor, Australian journalists were killed and we still don’t know what happened to them. That is still a bone of contention.

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

From 1980 to 1998 was good. I felt like Indonesia had very few problems during that time. After 99, the problems with money started and everything got worse.

Filed under: Vox Populi

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