Translated by Putu Semiada
“During the new order, it was very difficult for us when we had to deal with the officials for paper work, land certificate, business/building permit. Too many desks we should pass and we had to prepare extra money as well for the officials in Jakarta which didn’t guarantee the permit would come quckly, though. We still had to wait long,” says I Madé Geleh Breteh (I Made Easily Get Panic).
The local drinking club members do not really notice what Madé says. They are not really in the mood to talk about political situations. Everyone is still nervous. They haven’t slept well and need to drink more coffee: It is all because of the earthquake. It happened during their sleep last night. When the earthquake happened everyone was rushed out of their houses. They were all afraid of more earthquakes. Nobody really dared to go to the kitchen to get some coffee. That’s why they are gathered this afternoon to enjoy themselves. No matter how bad the earthquake was, the tuak always tastes fantastic.
“So, what’s is the difference between the New Order and the Reformation Order?” ask Ketut Blauk Baud Nyem-Nyeman (Ketut Crazy Cricket).
Madé becomes excited having heard that question from Ketut.
“It takes longer when we want to deal with the officials for paperwork. There are more officials that we need to give extra money. From the high rank officials to the lowest ones—they all want to have their part. Even when you have given them extra money, it doesn’t guarantee everything will run smoothly.”
Formerly, most of the Legislative Assembly members were educated people who acted as if they were street people, but now most of them are street people but acted as if they are educated ones.
In addition, formerly the General Election was ‘directly’, ‘public’, ‘free’ and ‘confidential’ but you already knew the winner before the vote counting started. But now, after a month, and billions of Rupiahs gone, the result is not certain.
“Formerly, the result of general election was really annoying but now the result is even more a painful.”
“There were many corrupt officials before, but only a few were arrested; but now there are many corrupt officials but the strange thing is that it is the KPK (Corruption Eradication Commission) chairmen who have been investigated instead of the corrupt parties.”
“Don’t ever think you can make a bomb during the New Order regime; just when you have it in your mind, you would be busted. Now, bombs explode everywhere, and the doers even think they are heroes, and they have supporters too. In facing this situation, the officials just smile.
Formerly, when you misspelled Pancasila (the Five Principles), you would be interrogated at the Kodim (District Military Command). Now who really cares? Bhinneka Tunggal Ika (Diversity in Unity slogan) is just rubbish now. Each province makes their own regulations based on Islam principles while the government just pretends as if they don’t see.
“But you know, there is one similarity between New Order and Reformation Era; that is: the poor remain poor, the rich become richer,” Ketut gives his opinion.
It seems there is no connection between Old Order, New Order or Reformation Order and poverty.
Therefore it is understandable the poor have no time to think about the political situation. They are already busy with their own business like how they afford rice that is getting more and more expensive. They think of instant noodle price, they are afraid of dog bite, almost give up practicing chicken husbandry, and still traumatic from the last earthquake.
“That’s why I’d rather have palm toddy than talking about our government. I mean, after drinking 3 bottles of palm toddy, you can forget all of your problems in your life. How about the government? No matter how many times you have demonstrations against them, there will be no significant change.