NAME: Made Sudiartha
AGE: 26
OCCUPATION: Garment quality-controller
FROM: Sesetan, Denpasar

How do you think people overseas see Indonesia?
As a very culturally rich country with friendly people.
What are the barriers to development in this country?
The government has a tight budget and it’s not a good government. There is also a lot of corruption.
Corruption is constantly in the news. Do you think it’s getting worse?
It is because many bad things are not in the news. The news shows who has been caught but there are many more corrupt people. Many people in the government don’t want people to know those in power are corrupt.

What real steps can be taken to stamp out graft?
It’s unlikely that it will ever happen. But they should punish those who are corrupt so other people take graft more seriously and they will think twice before being corrupt.

Some say Indonesia should help mediate in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, because of its large Muslim population, and President Yudhoyono has signalled an interest. What’s your view?
I don’t think we should help. We have many problems of our own. We have to overcome all the problems in our country first, like education and poverty.

There’s a view that Bali, in many respects, is unlike anywhere else in Indonesia. Why do you think that is?
Because it has a very unique culture; the way the Balinese pray every day to their God is very special.
One of Bali’s main problems is the deadly outbreak of rabies. Stray dogs continue to roam the streets, posing a serious health risk to people. Do you think not enough is being done to counter this crisis, given that almost 80 people have died?
The government has helped but now it’s our turn to look after the dogs in Bali. We have to control our pets and not let them wander around in the streets.

How do you relate to Indonesians from other islands – Java, Sumatra, Kalimantan, Sulawesi, Papua and many more. Is there a common bond between you all?
Of course; we are very close. Especially with Java because that’s where we originate from, from the ancient Majapahit kingdom.

What’s your view of the legacy of centuries of Dutch rule?
I can’t think of anything.

Indonesia has had six presidents since independence in 1945. Which one stands out the most for you, and why?
Suharto. Indonesia was very safe and things were cheaper. But there was a lot of corruption around him, which is a shame.


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