Saturday, 17 April 2010

Sad Stories and Communication

Lately we had a lot of sad stories. Earthquakes, floods, bombings... I think there will be plenty of sad or terrible stories around the world. Mother earth seems to get really tired of our foolish actions and she couldn't help those natural disasters to happen. On the other side people were also keep continuing their terrible actions towards others. In time like this, it is tiring to watch the news. Actually I don't want to talk about sad stories here. Yet, sometimes I can't stand to keep my mouth shout (actually to keep my fingers from dancing on the keyboard).

One thing that made me write this post is the communication problem with the government on relocation of people from the land belong to the state. One thing that I've seen from SBY's period (and I don't like it) is that the violent approach on land relocating was coming back. We had it in the New Order, and we don't really need it. Perhaps it is the military back ground that bring it in? I've sensed the increased violent at the end of 2007 and wrote about it in my year-end reflection. Now, three years later my fear came true... There was a big crash over the relocation. It was not a fight for a high density human settlement, but it was a defensive action over a piece of land that is known as a "sacred tomb".

They have made a deal but there were already victims and broken hearts. Actually we do need a good communication between the citizen and the government. The printed Kompas published some interesting opinions, yet I really like the one written by a well known Indonesian Psychologist, Sarlito Wirawan Sarwono "Dari Cina Benteng ke Mbah Priuk". So, one day before the incident in Koja there was already another show of power in Tangerang. The victim in Tangerang are the Chinese descendant of the Chinese (mostly men) who ran out of Batavia after the massal murder of Chinese in 1740, that was why they are known as "Cina Benteng". They are Chinese minority and being financially poor their relocation from their old environment wouldn't cause any big news, but we were probably overseen the lost of a living museum. We've lost Condet, the living museum of Betawi cultural heritage. Now we're loosing another part of historical heritage.

I like Pak Sarlito's opinion as he showed a good example from Solo, where the communication between the government and the citizen can create a win-win solution. We do understand the need to build the city, to beautify a site, or to boost its financial function. But, we also need to understand that those poor people do need the government to help them stand up to be able to walk out of their poverty. In the case of Koja, I think it is not really the "sacred tomb" that matter, but it became the representative of a struggle to show their existence. "We do exist here..." or "This is our land..." That's the message to the government and they should be clever enough to read the message and plan a better approaches in other places. We've got plenty problems of land ownership. It is still fresh in my mind the case of the relocation of those military pensioner who lived in their old institution's houses but asked to leave as they are no longer in service for the institution. A blogger here stated the need to recheck the status of land/house ownership for those institutional houses (Rumah Dinas).

Opinions are written out, will the government be wiser and listen to the voice of its people?

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