Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Through a Glass Darkly

Over and over, pals tell me how Suharto era Indonesia was a safer Indonesia than present day.

Obviously you have to ignore the goings on in Timor Leste, Aceh and Papua during Suharto's reign.

You would have to forget how Suharto got going - by killing a cool half a million people or more. And how he went out, by sending thugs to rape and murder Chinese Indonesians.

Also, you would have to turn a blind eye to the Suharto incorporated mafia monopoly. He gave the license to one man, a thug called Yapto. Needless to say, Yapto is kinda like the Voldemort "he who shall not be named" of Indonesia today.

I have little idea whether the Indonesian archipelago is safer than it was 15 or 20 years ago. It's difficult or impossible for me to call. But I suspect it is difficult for most Indonesians to make judgements that go much further than personal anecdotes either.

Indonesia's press was locked down back then. Now, for better or worse, Indonesia has the freest press in South East Asia.

Perceptions count for a lot.

1 comment:

tere616.blogspot.com said...

Can't agree more John, can't agree more ;-)