Leadership crisis in the era of reformasi: Pram

Kompas – August 12, 2003
Indonesian novelist Pramoedya Ananta Toer (sarjanaku)
Indonesian novelist Pramoedya Ananta Toer (sarjanaku)

Jakarta – In the era of reformasi a national leadership crisis has developed, including among the younger generation. Therefore the younger generation needs to hold a youth congress which can then give rise to a future leader. This leader must have a spirit of leadership and prestige.

This [proposal] was put forward by novelist Pramoedya Ananta Toer in an open discussion at the anniversary of the Institute for Social and Economic Research, Education and Information (LP3ES) in Jakarta on Monday (11/8).

“What the younger generation must do is get active! Fight all the things that are rotten”, explained Pram, Pramoedya’s familiar name. Without courage from the younger generation, it will be impossible for there to be any progress [in this country]. Pram [said he was] convinced that among the present younger generation it will be possible to find a suitable candidate as a national leader.

“Because I can no longer trust the present political elite at all. What real achievements have they given the nation and state? All of them just talk”, said Pram.

When asked whether a section of the younger generation at the moment tends to be apathetic so that they are frequently dubbed the MTV generation, Pram answered “That is the problem they, the younger generation, which they must solve themselves”, said Pram.

Commenting on the leadership of [President] Megawati Sukarnoputri, shaking his head he said, “She is not a leader. Megawati came from the palace and returned to the palace. Meanwhile her father came from jail and returned to jail”. [Meaning Megawati lived in the presidential palace with her farther, Indonesia’s founding President Sukarno, until he was removed by General Suharto and has now returned to the presidential palace as president. Sukarno, then a leading member of the national liberation movement, was jailed by the Dutch during the colonial period then jailed again after Suharto and the military sized power in 1965]. (b14)

[Translated by James Balowski.]