NAME: Tas Man
AGE: 40
OCCUPATION: Bag shop owner
FROM: Sumatra

How do you think the country is doing now?
I think our current President SBY is really trying to make things better. Because he was an army general he has a lot of control over the country and is trying to get rid of corruption and make people safer. I think laws are being enforcing more strictly now.

Is the central government in Jakarta doing enough for the regions?
Living in Bali I feel the central government has so many ways to make money here but doesn’t feed it back into the places that need it most. The profits of schemes like visas on arrival and departure taxes never make it back to the lower rungs of society.

If you were running the country, what three things would you fix or change immediately?
I’d work on the unity of Indonesia’s islands. I feel to keep all the islands Indonesian, the government needs to allocate money more equally. I would then focus on the economy and unemployment, organizing for the wealthier citizens to donate and assist those with less. I also feel the social department should be more caring and work more on prevention than cleanup efforts after things happen. Lastly I would fix up relationships with foreign countries to improve trade partnerships.

What do you think about Bali’s government?
Like SBY, Governor Pastika is from a military background, so I think he is also trying hard to gain more control over Bali. He is not always in agreement with other government officials, which can be good but can also cause problems.

Are you worried about outbreaks of rabies and bird flu that have affected some areas of Bali?
No. I think the health department is doing a good job controlling both problems.

Indonesia is made up of more than 17,500 islands, many religions, dozens of ethnic groups and hundred of dialects. Therefore, is it reasonable to expect “Unity in Diversity,” as the founding fathers declared?
We are trying to be united but if the central government can’t keep the people happy, we’ll continue to have troubles like those in Aceh, Papua and the Malukus.

What are the qualities of an Indonesian?

We are adaptable, friendly and smile readily. We may move or change, but we can never lose those parts of our personalities.

What for you has been Indonesia’s greatest moment since it declared independence in 1945?
The 1980s was a very prosperous time for this country. President Suharto made many developments with infrastructure and there were no internal conflicts. People respected him and the stability he provided.

Filed under: Vox Populi

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