NAME: Paulina “Rika” Manuputty
AGE: 47
OCCUPATION: Housewife
LOCATION: Denpasar

How do you think the country is doing now?

The development needs to be improved. There are still many children who don’t have a chance to go to school because they can’t afford it, especially in the eastern part of the country, such as Papua. Poverty is still rampant and the health services are not adequate, especially, again, in the eastern parts.

Is the central government in Jakarta doing enough for the regions?
I don’t think so. Some isolated areas are still left behind and undeveloped. For example, in Ambon, where I come from, the schools and hospitals are in a very bad state.

If you were running the country, what three things would you fix or change immediately?
1. Education: There are still many uneducated people in Indonesia. For example in Timor or Ambon: the school buildings are in a very poor condition and they need more qualified teachers.
2. Poverty: We still lack employment. There are so many jobless people in the country.
3. Health services: In Ambon, the doctors and the hospitals are in bad condition. They don’t have enough medical equipment and specialists. Also, poor people who can’t afford to pay shouldn’t be charged.

What do you think about Bali’s government?
It’s very good. As a newcomer, I haven’t found any significant problems dealing with anything. All is good. For example, when my husband was sick, he was treated well at the government hospital. I’m happy about that.

Are you worried about the deadly outbreak of rabies in Bali?

No, because the government has handled the situation very well by giving free vaccinations for the dogs and anyone who gets bitten.

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 think it’s possible.

What are the qualities of an Indonesian?
They are actually smart but I think they are quite lazy. Especially when they are being helped, they get lazier. They depend on help too much. That’s why poverty is everywhere.

What for you has been Indonesia’s greatest moment since it declared independence in 1945?
I don’t think there is any. The country still needs to develop.

BT/PCAR

Filed under: Vox Populi

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