Stop complaining about Indonesia

8 Jun

“If you want to complain about Indonesia, the list will go and on,” my friend told me, signalling me to stop. I was telling her the new light into our own history and why things work as what they are now, that there are few rich and powerful people determining how millions of people should live. She was bored and annoyed.

“What’s the use of knowing. Nothing will ever change,” she said.

Indonesians are famous for its acceptance of fate. When people have an accident and break their leg, they said, “Thank goodness it’s only my leg. I still have my life.”

I read a story by a Western journalist who covered the story from a post-earthquake city in middle Java in May 2006. Instead of seeing devastated faces, as what he saw in New Orleans after Katrina, he saw cheerful people. “Thank goodness I am still alive,” they say.

They did not get the support people in New Orleans got but he recalled that they were very friendly. One family offered him meal, cooked with little ration of rice they got from charity. He said, “I saw strong-willed people here. Content and happy people.”

It’s a nation of self-contentful, which is good in time of peace and prosperity because people will feel happy with what they have.

However, is it right to keep mum and accept whatever that come your way as fate, when there are factors, created by other humans, control the rule of the game; the control that works almost invisibly as if it is by hand of god.

The earthquake, scaled only at 5.9 richter scale, killed more than 6,000 people, many of whom should not have died. Most are buried under the ruin of their own home, improperly built because of lack of knowledge about good building and limited fund they have. Few towns were flattened, leaving only houses built with brick and cement standing.

Indonesia, located on Pacific Ring of Fire seismic belt, is still far from ready to face this familiar natural phenomena and let it turn into natural disaster. People should have been given education about the earthquake-resistance house and should earn enough money to build it instead of letting their house kills them. This is an unnecesary catasthrope.

Instead, people accept it as the will of god, that death is in the hand of god.

Is it wrong to see wrong as wrong, to complain and wish for better system, where people can stay alive and have hope for better life? Isn’t recognising and analysing what went wrong part of determining the remedial action? Without proper action, thousands more may die in the coming earthquakes and we will again claim it as fate.

Is a nation of contentful – or perhaps lost of hope – limiting the progress that is so much needed?

A boy lost his arm in the earthquake waiting for his faux arm


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