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On Dealing With Criticism

On Dealing With Criticism

There’re a heating and contentious debate on my several postings in this blog regarding criticism: on how to criticise; what the rule of the game to convey your criticism and whether your criticism is in accordance with the “Indonesian tradition” (I dont know exactly what does it mean? What kind of traditions among various ethnic and tribal traditions in Indonesia which can claim as the most “Indonesian,” anyway?). And, especially, if you convey the criticism to the President of Indonesia.

Nitnot and Nishimoto, for example, dont agree with even constructive criticism to a head of state. Or if it’s a must, you must do it in a gentle manner in accordance with the “Indonesian tradition” or “Eastern tradition.”

Well,for me, the above views a bit weird, to say the least due to several reasons:

First, what Indonesian tradition or eastern tradition, anyway. The “gentle manner” the Indonesian way is not easy term to define. Indonesia is a country with no monolitic tradition. Gentle according to javanese or sundanese tradition could be understood as “hypocrit” from other ethnic/tribal traditions like Madura or Batak, etc.

Second, criticism is a good thing we “imported” from the West. It’s one package of democracy as part of freedom of expression and civil society live. Why we voluntarily adopted to democratic package of values, and want to put away one value i.e. freedom of expression which is inherent in it? How can we claim our country as democratic by excluding the tradition of criticism?

Third, we have taken more blindly and uncritically a-not-so-good tradition from the West like free sex, the pop culture, lesbianism, homosexualism. And never talk and debate about it. There’s no talk about the above points as “un-Indonesian”. I mention this point simply to emphasize there’s something wrong with the way we think: we, most of us, Indonesians, have a tendency to be “blind” on anything that’s not offended our individuality, our ego and feelings, whatever damage the things has caused to our society. On the contrary, we are easily angry on a little things that hurt the ego, criticism just a good example among many others. In other words, individuality is getting more emphasis than society.

Any criticism, including the one conveyed by Tylla to the President, and by myself in this blog are directed and intended for the betterment of our society, our nation. If this kind of criticism is disliked by many of us, certainly it’s a bad and sad phenomenon which should be regarded as very very unfortunate.

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