Analyzing Gita Wirjawan

Gita Wirjawan - World Economic Forum on East Asia 2010



Gita Irawan Wirjawan, as his full name sounds, has nearly everything you may deem damn perfect: educated in Harvard, well-experienced in international banking giants (JP Morgan Indonesia and Goldman Sachs being his notable ones), speaks greatly, and fluently, native English (he claims his TOEFL paper-based test scores were 650), becomes a highly successful entrepreneur who predicted the 2008 financial crisis (he established Ancora Group as an anticipation to the recession by buying out shares in companies he believes will be impacted by the crisis), and contributes significantly to the massive increase of foreign direct investment in Indonesia. And, well, he’s also immensely talented in badminton and music, and develops huge connections worldwide, which easily enable him to lobby world leaders to advance Indonesia’s economic agenda on a global scale.

C’est parfait, n’est pas?

Well, I guess we have to balance the pros and cons of everybody. Not that he’s a God-like prowess, though.

We have to acknowledge that without him, Indonesia’s investment climate would have never been this bustling, despite all the commotion and rambunctiousness taking place around our country. Nevertheless, just as everybody does, he also has his Achilles’ heel: he’s no good in handling kitchen stuff.

Serving as Minister of Trade, he has – several other ministers are also actually to blame – indirectly contributed to the massive increase of garlic prices, and of other commodities altogether, that millions of people must tighten up their expenditure, at great pains, to afford the amenities. Should we deny the facts? Nationwide, television news reports – despite their oftentimes politically distorted views – displayed to us, with all the double-digit, and to a lesser extent, triple-digit, increase in percentage of the prices of commodities, only to be solved, in short term, by allowing unlimited imports from neighboring countries like India.

This scenario takes place in a totally tropical country where garlic should have grown damn easy.

Okay, forgive his mistake, though: he owns numerous philanthropic foundations, all of which aggregated under Ancora Foundation, which award scholarship for visionary, like-minded, and ambitious graduate students to world-class universities like Harvard, Oxford, Cambridge, Sciences Po, Stanford, or Singapore’s beloved NTU. Now taking lead, also, as president of Indonesia’s badminton association, he has groomed many successful players, and he’s now ready to prepare locally-trained world-class golfers, using his personal wealth. Must be a good brief entertainment at times where commodity prices run high, eh?

And now he’s a presidential nominee for upcoming election in 2014. His vision: a technocrat-driven government. This is one I particularly very endorse. About our current leader? Without mentioning his name (you know what I mean), he’s been too much consensus-driven. Other political parties are claiming a bigger stake in governance, for the parties’ own sake. Were he elected, could he endorse technocrats to take seats in the state apparatus? This country, now with all its golden opportunities, should have been led by a government based on meritocracy, not one solely dependent on uneasy coalition.

Okay, let’s forgive our current president for the mistakes he made regarding the cabinet structure, which derives mainly from proportion of political parties included in his coalition; maybe this was his Hobson’s choice, given the relatively fragile political situation at that time. Now, with GDP surpassing 1 trillion US$, with more than 100 million people now entering middle-class status, Indonesia should have been ready to embrace for a merit-based regime. Where a ministerial seat should have been occupied by one really well-experienced in that field, not a leader of a certain political party showing superficial loyalty to the president.

Gita Wirjawan has a bonus for that. He only lacks another finesse, though: most of those who have heard his name are solely based on major cities. And those living on countryside? I doubt if many of them are well acquainted with him.

Will you support him on upcoming election? You decide.


Read his profile in Wikipedia.

Listen to his interview on Wharton School of University of Pennsylvania (UPenn), back in 2010, when he was serving Head of Indonesia’s Investment Coordinating Board, the one tasked with persuading foreign businesses to invest in the country.

And this is his main vision as a presidential hopeful. Read it at The Jakarta Globe.

Misinformation and a black swan phenomenon in Boston bombing




We all knew that the Tsarnaev brothers had at last been captured, but we also did not largely realize how on earth misidentified ‘suspects’ like Sunil Tripathi or Salah Eddhi Barhoum had been fleeing as well.

Boston bombing, compared to other similar occurrences, was one to be the most widely reported either on mass or social media, and also the one most widely misinformed. CNN became the first to report that ‘arrests’ had been made – and also the first to commit so large a mistake that the Americans thought a Negro could have committed such brutality. Then the photos of Sunil Tripathi went viral in Internet, resulting in one of the biggest manhunts in the city’s history, only to track out the whereabouts of the Brown University student. Barhoum, a Moroccan student, was overtly traumatized when FBI agents, ‘thanks’ to the information by mass media, mistook him for doing the terrorist act.

The fallacies were not over until the two brothers showed up in the MIT shooting (and also a little bombing in an infinitesimal section of Harvard), leaving Boston and its surrounding cities like Cambridge and Watertown, known for tranquility and a high-profile sense of Cantabrigian, ivory-tower intellectualism, into full-day ghost towns. Police and military troops patrolled the streets and avenues as though they were a war zone, while the brothers, using a hijacked car, threw grenades throughout the the circumstances.

And there came the most unexpected fact largely unknown to American public: this was a first time that Chechen sympathizers, the name which was the least associated with ‘radical Islam’ compared to Afghanistan or Iraq, could orchestrate such a deadly attack in a nation already traumatized by the intimidating 911 experience. It became both a lesson for United States, for it should not overlook ‘minor harbingers’ like they had placed too much attention merely on Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, and countries elsewhere in Middle East, and for Russia as well, a country already exhausted, and largely ignorant, of the ongoing wars in the volatile autonomous region of Chechnya.

That could be dubbed another ‘black swan phenomenon’, an unexpected, unpredictable event beyond all our control.


Read further as Tauriq Moosa, a South African blogger, attempts to explain further about media inconsistencies in Big Think.

And also one not to be missed: why the brothers, one known to be a ‘first-stage’ hard-liner, the other one a moderate Muslim, could have instigated such chaos.