Indonesian Intelligentsia and Mass Leader

Indonesian Intelligentsia and Mass Leader

Public debates–through media, blogs, mailing list– in Indonesia nowadays crowded with around two co-related topic: (1) RUU APP (anti-pornography draft bill); banning of prostitution (and soon alcoholic drink) in Tangerang municipality; Playboy Indonesia. (2) Labor law; Papuan asylum seeker issue and Cepu oil and gas.

Concerning the RUU APP, an eminent Indonesian columnist Mochtar Pabottinggi wrote in Tempo Magazine (11/04/06) about the reasons behind the emergence of the RUU APP controversy:

“…politico-cultural history of our nation; irrationality of politics, post-Suharto politics, and the lack of competency or intellectual enlightenment on the part of many legislators who draft the bill.”

The last point of Mochtar’s commentary is interesting. So, majority of legislators who involve in drafting the anti-porn bill are stupid, that what he said.

My simple question is why the so-called ‘stupid’ legislators could get the seat in the Senayan (legislative assembly) in the first place and why the intellectuals didn’t? My immediate answer is while the former is the mass leader who enjoys living, helping and talking with the mass, the latter- the so-called intelligentsia- enjoys sitting in the ivory tower, never intended to go down the grass root and enjoys sitting in the cloudy sky and looking what’s happening below.

Democracy is about vote. And you’ll be voted by people if they know you. It’s very unfortunate to see some trends in some developing countries like Indonesia and India where the mass leaderships are dominated by those who don’t have excellence intellectual capacity.

I think it’s a wake-up call for every indonesian intelligentsia to go down to earth, talk to people, listen to their grievances beside writing an op-ed piece and book as their primary duties.