Resolution for the scandalous, chest-haired king

If these polygamists paired up, that would be a perfect choice. (right side: Aceng Fikri, the deposed regent of Garut Regency, West Java, who flared up widespread controversy after marrying an under-aged girl and divorced her in 4 days, by SMS).

 

“I’m apprehensive of the fact that there are certain minority groups which are agitating us, Muslim comrades.”

“These minority groups…they domineer not only in economy, but also in politics. See how they’re preparing themselves for the arena.”

“I feel that I’m incapable of answering your questions.”

“Mick Jagger may be proud that he has fans. But I have followers.”

“I’m gonna brush up on the government’s statistics shortly before the election.”

“It’s not me who wants to nominate myself for President. It’s a holy task, by the good will of Allah, that calls me to do so.”

“I feel it’s kafir that Muslims elect non-Muslims to lead and serve them.”

Having the panoply of faith-blinded myrmidons, the ‘herd’ of help-mates, the comrade of dangdutcavalry, and, what’s more inextricably tied to the megalomaniacal Rhoma Irama than all the gains above he had had through all his soap-opera-like pilgrimage of life?

 

“I’ll promise you I’ll research more on fuel price hike policies, only if you elect me.”

 

An interview in Metro TV, perhaps, had reduced his likelihood of a presidency he was so inclined that he claimed ‘a banzer of my faithful disciples could help me win the 2014 election’.

Surveys, in fact, have previously recommended politicians, military generals, and/or businesspeople for this paramount seat. Names like Prabowo Subianto, Aburizal Bakrie, Jusuf Kalla, Dahlan Iskan (we won’t wish a president who may act like a clown in tollroads and wears sports shoes in formal ceremonies), Mahfud MD, Sri Mulyani, or Gita Wirjawan were among the top 10 potential nominees. But this pudgy old man all of a sudden? The response bears verisimilitude to that of Balram Halwai in The White Tiger: what a fucking joke! Even it is a plethora of times better to have them, despite their disputation over certain cases, seated in the 5-year post than this megalomaniacal, self-claiming firebrand cleric who thought having led an ‘Islamic solidarity movement’ has been more-than-okay preparation for such sacrosanct position.

Okay, perhaps these public figures’ wrongdoings, except for those of Mahfud MD which are probably either nonexistent or closely concealed, are enormous. Prabowo was indicted in severe human rights abuses in 1990s. Bakrie was found out having conspired with Gayus to conceal his taxes, then denied his responsibility for Lapindo maelstrom and the BakrieLife scandal. Jusuf Kalla is, according to  @TrioMacan2000, a Wikileaks-like anonymous account, brilliant and quick-witted, but his despotic, parochial attitude is just ‘too unbearable’. Dahlan Iskan never ceases from making headlines every time, as though he reeked of his face being posted over the front pages every day. Sri Mulyani finds herself more comfortably working in Washington, D.C. and managing global economic affairs, than catches up herself being protested nearly quotidian in Jakarta (and nationwide) for Bank Century scandal. Gita Wirjawan, a Harvard-educated, Western-minded graduate with TOEFL scores worth 650, is primarily targeted by mass media when his business empire, Ancora Group, was rumored to be ‘a safe haven’ for the assets bailed out from Bank Century. Now this dangdut king, with an iota and even no expertise in playing dirty, wants to pull the gauntlet? Does he have, just like cats do, a dozen of back-up lives in his body? He’s doing another stand-up, I suppose. Or maybe not. He claims Islamist parties are ready to back him up, when Muhammadiyah and Nahdlatul Ulama, Indonesia’s two largest Muslim organizations, strictly recommend their 80-million-strong members not to ever ‘nominate’ this guy as a candidate.

 

“Mr.Rhoma, let me test you regarding the knowledge you need suppose you were the president. Do you know who Xi Jinping is?”

“Oh, I see. He must be a business partner of Ahok, isn’t he? He’s a danger to our country then!”

*Najwa face-palms.

 

Well, we know for cock-sure, simon-pure that his chances are slim, but what if, in the funniest-case (rather than worst-case) scenarios, he won it out? What is he gonna do with a nation of 250 million, already perplexed by problems seemingly aeons-old and labyrinthine, given that his finesse is restricted to singing and performing oratory, fiery speeches? Here are a few, among too many, things that he ought to note down: (only if he happens, by accident and by probability of 1 in 1 million, to click my blog after Googling his name)

1. Put up with, or split it up.

Rhoma had no guilt, albeit his reputation was stained (actually it’s been long dirtied) by his racist remarks in a talk he gave in a Jakarta mosque – he said, “It’s malignant to have a Christian lead you!”, obviously referring to Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, or in short, Ahok. If he were, and only if God Himself were so ‘benevolent’ to grant him the golden opportunity, and if he failed to pay respect to other religions and/or any other minorities else, expect yourself to see an independent Papua, Bali, Maluku, and a pantheon of ‘mini-states’, emerging in this country. Up to day, the question remains ‘what if’.

2. You can’t end the dominance of the ‘slant-eyeds’ simply by expelling them.

As in the verbatim above, it can be inferred that he disrelishes the Christians, and regards the ethnic Chinese in disesteem. “These groups….domineering not only in economics,”, and this catchphrase is clearly referred to ‘us’! You must have remembered, only if you watched, when Najwa Shihab enquired him whether he’s actually mentioning Ahok for this disadage and he replied with a big ‘yes’. Matter-of-factly speaking, as much as two-thirds of our economy remains under the control of the politely so-called ‘Tionghoa’, whose existence represents no more than 5% of Indonesia’s population, and whose dominance largely affects Indonesia’s long-term economic development. So, if you would like to implement ‘active and drastic measures’, you might be no different from 20th-century dictators. Why not just persuade them to be entrepreneurs?

3. You say you let the Cabinet do all the jobs, and…

You go on with your Soneta business? Do a sing-a-long at Presidential Palace with your personnel, entertain 250 million people, and ensure ‘everything is solvable with music’? And that means while you’re at the helmet to do Koontz and o’Donnell stuff, that you plan, organize, direct, and supervise your staff, and because you have no expertise in handling national and international issues, you just let them do what they are supposed to do, like as you told Najwa? Even a vision-impaired Gus Dur knows more about the world than you do. For such possible occurring, there is nothing more I can recommend but to……

4. Return to your old dormitory.

You told Najwa you dropped out of university, but which one? Which academic year? You also highlighted your experience as a parliament member in 1990s, but what’s your contribution? More complicitly, other than singing and showing off that chest in your hair? Meanwhile, regarding your once ‘being in the institution’, I pull out 2 conclusions: you either got admitted to that ‘university’, in your subconscious mind, or you really got ‘admitted’ to that ‘university’, but only as a visitor. I strongly recommend that this guy had better enroll in admission exams next year, and see how far his ‘expertise’ could go on.

5. Beware of ‘America’.

Your vision, and all the subliminal messages you transmit to your disciples, do echo like those of a pan-Islamist. America, on the other hand, to ensure ‘world peace’ and to make sure ‘American interests’ are not in harbinger, have always had many of its CIA agents stationed up from North to the South Pole. Did you remind yourself to consider how many megalomaniacs like you have been deposed by the so-called ‘Western-bribed’ mercenaries? Or are you oblivious, or even negligent, on the fact that people could be anytime angered by your leadership, and Uncle Sam would have possibly made use of that chance to brainwash them to revolt against you? Ah, forget that. I only realize that ‘your singing’ can bring a predicament to the masses, like an ointment.

6. Memorize the list of member states in United Nations.

As a leader, you should learn to identify which countries have tremendous mutual benefits for Indonesia, and which ones would bring more maladies. Don’t make us dumbfounded that you announce ‘arms-dealing treaty’ with the al-Shabaab gendarmerie, or ratify ‘nuclear research treaty’ with Kim Jong-un, or offer ‘scholarship programs’ in Chad, or even ask Julia Gillard for a proposal. I’m afraid your first priority in foreign-policy objectives is to ‘arm every viable Palestinian to turn Israel into an ocean of fire’. Or you maybe think that Park Jae-sang is UN Secretary General, and Ban Ki-moon popularizes Gangnam-style hysteria.

7. Eliminate ‘family planning’?

So, basically, only because Koran permits every man to engage with, in maximum, 4 women, and you would exert authority on the Parliament to pass legislation to persuade every Indonesian man to unite 4 women in the holy wedlock at the same time? It might only be a stone’s throw away from seeing Indonesian population eclipse that of China within 4 decades.

8. Now it’s your job to fill the rest.

Well, it’s only 3 days left before 2013 commences. Given that all of us had survived the procrastinated-to-time-immemorial apocalypse, fortunately I had this splendid chance to utter such meaningful words to you. Read it or not, I even bet you won’t understand half the context of the words I’ve been writing below.

 

HAPPY NEW YEAR, MORON!

 

We own the media. We are the power.

I did not find anything wrong with one of Indonesia’s leading news channels, TvOne, attempting to augment the seraphic side of Aburizal Bakrie. There’s no problem with Mr.Bakrie commanding the editorial board to polish his sexagenarian, triangular-shaped – rather than to say diamond-shaped, as most face-reading experts would accede to – face. There’s even nothing wrong  the TV station was asked to invite experts who prompted advice, indirectly, on how he would win the 2014 presidential election, the time the consensus-making ex-general currently in the ascendancy, President SBY, will have to step down.

I couldn’t understand why, but each time this TV station has intimation with ‘Bakrie’s’ name tagged in, I would always – and I can’t stand to – start smiling. When one of his sons got married with a pin-up,chic actress, the channel had its own William-and-Kate-alike red-letter day. When his mother passed out – it’s ordinary that someone bemoan her pullout from this profane world – it was repeatedly labelled ‘breaking news’, while other channels were actually airing either talk shows, tearjerking no-begin-no-end soap operas, or recidivously-screened out-of-date Hollywood films. Lastly, when Bakrie single-handedly appointed himself as the sole presidential nominee from the long-deposed Golkar party, the party where he served the main chairman (its raj-like cathedra overcast after Soeharto was ousted in 1998 by pro-reform students), while political analysts had repeatedly warned that Golkar’s popularity would even drain severely had he done so.

Firstly, I sympathize (but feel free to question my compliance) regarding to his mother’s dropping-a-cue. But, one thing that questioned me was this: is it a must that the procession be nationally televised, particularly when his reputation is divided into half ‘popular’ and half ‘notorious’, in which the latter tends to outstrip the former? Secondly, given that probably half the Indonesians dislike him, what made him remain so undaunted that he monopolized the nomination process? Is he overtly ambitious for the 2014 seat? Should I answer ‘must be’ or ‘could have been’?  Thirdly, it doesn’t matter if TvOne converts themselves into a publicity team for Bakrie’s fair name (like paying tribute to achiever-molding schools), but please be reminded of some scandals he had himself committed. As of the date this article is posted to my Facebook account (and my WordPress blog), one of his defunct energy companies, PT Minarak Lapindo Jaya, is in arrears approximately worth 900 billion rupiah (note: the 2006 Lapindo disaster, in which hot mud continuously flows out from the drilling fields in Sidoarjo, East Java, until now. Rumor has it that the company’s operating procedures and methods have been exceedingly breakneck, that even most of the energy companies refuse to invest there). At the same time, PT Bakrie Life, a bankrupt insurance company, owes its ex-customers more or less 270 billion rupiah, and it has been unpaid for 3 years. A conspiracy theory is postulated that Bakrie has actually aided Gayus Tambunan’s get-away (note: Gayus is an ex-tax officer currently sentenced for crimes of tax evasion worth more than 70 billion rupiah), had secretly met Gayus in Bali (something he dismissed as a ‘political intrigue’), and that Gayus had amassed 28 billion rupiah from three of Bakrie’s East Kalimantan-based coal mining giants: PT Bumi Resources Tbk., PT.Kaltim Prima Coal (KPC), and PT.Arutmin.

 

As far as I know, if you visit Tv One’s website, and search ‘lapindo’ as the keyword, I bet you only attain 24 search results. What if you type ‘bakrie life’ instead? As though a fairy tale, the result is entirely null and void. But what if I type ‘bakrie’ instead? Multiply 18 with 24 search results obtained after typing ‘lapindo’. (in case your math is not good enough, here is the answer: 432)

(One more information: whenever you type ‘Hari Suwandi’ – one of Lapindo’s victims who expresses his dudgeon after garnering no compensation at all by walking non-stop from his hometown to Jakarta on foot to meet President and Bakrie – in the website, you still get quite many search results, but inconsequentially, the references link you to airplane accidents, instead, because many dead pilots reported were named, unfortunately, ‘Suwandi’.)

This makes me wonder. Bakrie has been repeatedly ‘commended’ (by his TV’s newscasters) for his attempts in improving Indonesian education system (he even set up a private university based on his surname) by visiting schools and giving motivational speeches to his students. But has he ever visited perished schools in Sidoarjo? Has he ever asked – and even contemplated – how their living condition looks like?

 

Ah, I just remember. Bakrie’s one is not only the epitome representing the concept of ‘concentration of media ownership’ – the situation where a conglomerate is able to control multiple mass media companies, particularly those of major, either national or worldwide, influence – but also ‘media bias’, when the truth is adjusted to what . But the second example, later, is not that linked to the latter, as I can say.

If TvOne behaves obfuscatorily regarding its boss’ misdeeds, Metro TV does it in reverse: it almost does attempt to subconsciously castigate him – and his political party – everytime cases linked to their names are exposed (like the recent corruption of Koran production in Ministry of Religious Affairs involving a Golkar politician, and a bribery scandal entangling a regent in Central Sulawesi, who also acts as Golkar’s cadre). Or is Surya Paloh, the channel’s founder and owner, trying to avenge him, after the fiasco he faced of not getting elected as Golkar’s main chairman?

I dare not imply that too far, but given quite intensive publicity campaigns, in which news broadcasters often cover his newly-formed party (originally he ‘only’ intended to make it a ‘non-political, civil organization’), Nasional Demokrat’s, abbreviated as Nasdem, events, there is some indication that both individuals are entering the political arena. But, still, both news channels have the similar agenda. They inform the public about government’s wrongdoings. That’s a necessary element of transparency throughout the age of democracy, but just sometimes, as I opine, both channels concentrate themselves too often on bad news rather than good news, as though we were presented with an endless array of politically themed soap operas. 2 years prior, both channels competed en masse in covering the 6.7-trillion-rupiah Bank Century scandal, and intensively tagged ‘Sri Mulyani’ and ‘Boediono’, which ended up with Sri’s resignation as Finance Minister. Last year, public was day-and-night brainwashed regarding Nazaruddin’s globe-trotting runaway period, his SEA Games’ housing project, and largely thanks to the perpetuating cover-up reports by the mass media, particularly both news channels, Partai Demokrat (where Nazaruddin used to serve as the main treasurer) has had its popularity severely jeopardized, with more cadres getting suspected of dozens of corruption scandals scattered in a mecca of projects nationwide. This year, it’s getting even more tense. Having been faced with out-Heroding-Herod anarchism misconducted by the university students during fuel hike protests and per-hourly updated, public’s attention is again headed to the Hambalang Sports City project (originally worth 125 billion rupiah, the costs all of a sudden soared until more than 2.5 trillion, with many key figures of the party suspected of the involvement in the so-called ‘megascandal’). As though unfinished, our minds are again directed to the realm of corruption in the supposedly ‘cleanliest and most sacrosanct’ ministry of all’. And another episode is yet to be aired.

 

“Guys, who do you think are more handsome? The bearded guy beside me or this bony old man?”

 

Ah, how difficult it seems to realize the ‘friction’. Everybody sees the content in it. But I also see intention. It is not merely a competition. It’s a duel, undeniably. Conglomerates need ‘hidden voices’ to transmit the messages that they are – subconsciously, in the mind’s public – reliable.

This helps to explain why most of the time billionaires, just like Bakrie and Paloh, have always been interested in acquiring, say the least, a bit of the mass media industry. Even an infinitesimal, disproportionately small portion is worth enough doing: once you have the mass media in your hands, you have had an invisible, gargantuan ‘mouth’ to control people’s minds. You can let them sympathize on matters you are actually not supposed to. You make people end up oblivious on your misdeeds. And, lastly, but not entirely, it is the most formidable piece of paraphernalia to bring you closer to the ascendance of power, thanks to the ‘indirect’ support of the viewers. Perhaps that’s why Warren Buffett had no regrets when he purchased The Washington Post Group – the owner of three of America’s largest TV stations, ABC, NBC, and CBS – a chain of more than 30 subsidiaries engaged in publishing, magazine, newspaper, radio, and broadcasting sectors. Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation – a full-fledged battalion of 500 companies – has tens of millions of staunch daily viewers in both United States and United Kingdom, despite the fact he’s an Australian. Even rumor has it that his Fox Channel (as it circulates around the American society, and has been a public secret) serves as the ‘mouthpiece’ of GOP, a party very well-revered by Wall Street, corporate giants, oil & gas pundits, warmongering generals, and fundamentalist, conservative Christians.

Very recently, Gina Rinehart, Australia’s first mining queen, and also currently the world’s richest woman (whose wealth surpasses 30 billion US$, and some experts have even projected her assets may have soared until exceedingly 100 billion US$ in no more than 5 years), has recently acquired Fairfax Group (and sold a few million after protests from Fairfax’s journalists), Australia’s largest media conglomeration to date after News Corp., while at the same time, there were rising concerns about her corporation’s environmental records. What’s more, she refuses to sign the group’s charter of editorial independence and demands that the group alter its understanding of ‘global warming’ as something ‘naturally occurring, not man-made’. What does that indicate? Or more precisely, what else can’t be indicated more, when all she has is that she owns the media, and she is the power?

 

“Fairfax, I’ve got an offer you can’t refuse!”

Still, it won’t ever be a sin when you either crack upon or suppress someone’s mistakes. At least, to my own context.

*********

Want some more factoids? Here they are:

  1. It is Carlos Slim Helu’s right to acquire 6.4% of The New York Times’ shares in NYSE in 2008. That’s why seldom media outlets expose his monopoly on telecommunication industry in Mexico (OECD even lambasts Mexico for circumscribing the most expensive phone credits in the world.)
  2. Like a duplicate of Tv One-Golkar’s harmonious relationship, Mexico’s largest television network, Televisa, has long had (and still has) cordial relationship with the long-deposed PRI (Institutional Revolutionary Party), a political party known to have been dictators’ (and major oligarchs’) powerhouse for more than half a century, until its dominance ended in 2000.
  3. Newspapers in Hong Kong are so afraid of exposing the ‘bad news’ of Li Ka-shing, the region’s richest tycoon. According to Joe Studwell, as taken from his book ‘Asian Godfathers’, he would order his companies cease advertising on these newspapers once they’re caught sneaking into his ‘darker side’.

 

Learn more about the flaws of media here.