Crap! It’s like soap operas are not enough. Indonesia news these days and one year ahead has been and will be a disgusting pool of information on morally rotten politicians and may-God-burn-them-in-the-bowel-of-hell type of corrupt public officials and their not so surprisingly disgraceful deeds.
I don’t CARE. Seriously, I do NOT.
While a flock of journalists around me chattered about the nausea-inducing politicians, I abandoned them for a read on a real statesman from the neighboring island state, Singapore. Lee Kuan Yew as presented in “Hard Truths to Keep Singapore Going” has stated so many mind-blowing pieces of truths, hard cold facts to swallow. An inspiring book everyone has to read, I suppose, especially if you’re not a narrow-minded person.
So what does the book have to do with us Indonesians? It – to some extent – teaches me that so long as we have too many politicians in Indonesia, this nation will find it hard to move forward and make progress rapidly catching up the other more developed and more prosperous ones.
But wait, what’s a statesman? And how are these statesmen different from politicians? They look and sound similar. They’re housed in the same building most of the time. They work and adopt more or less similar way of life. Close with the powerful authority and hence influential enough to the rest of the nation.
A statesman, as I look up in my e-dictionary, can be roughly defined as “a man who is a respected leader in national or international affairs”. A statesmen should be astute and sagacious, looking and behaving like a sage or hermit full of wisdom in his nearly bald head.
A politician, however, is merely a person actively engaged and involved in party politics. Even more evil definition exists, a politician may be a schemer who tries to gain advantage in an organization in sly or underhanded ways. I’m not surprised though.
The two are closely linked – even intermingled with each other – I would say, but the huge gap between a politician and a statesman lies in the profound and visionary understanding of managing a nation.
In my own understanding of statesmen, I can safely say that Soekarno and Hatta are two of them. Soeharto? He is a personality with too many facets, and thus require more complicated judgment. If I really have to decide though, Soeharto is half way there but not quite impressive.
Lee Kuan Yew is very much different. He is a dictator perhaps to some people, just like Soeharto. In terms of visions, he has got what it takes to be a statesman. Maybe he gets too rich compared to the average people of Singapore but if that means significant real improvement in the nation’s squality of life, why not? And if he manages and runs the nation like a professional and get paid after that like a CEO and turning the richest and the one in the company, why not? Because he deserves that and above all, his achievements are there to see. Lee’s policies are criticized badly here and there by his own people but he has strong reasons for any of the steps taken. There are consequences to follow but it seems he has gotten everything taken care of.
Once again, it is of course unfair on so many levels to compare these two entities (Indonesia and Singaporean leadership). The two countries are different and unique.