Consul General Umar Hadi was a speaker at a Colloquium yesterday (Tuesday, 11/18) held at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Around fifty people, mainly UCLA academicians and some of them from Indonesian societies from surrounding Los Angeles, were attending the colloquium. The main theme was "Indonesia Matters", in which Consul General Hadi elaborated Indonesia's democracy and diversity and how Indonesia strive to be relevant for its people and the world today and in future.
As he opened his speech, Consul General Hadi explained about how the Indonesia's founding fathers have chosen diversity as the foundation of building a nation back then in 1945. Indonesia was built on the basis of more recent and abstract concept of nationalism. It was designed as a modern constitutional Republic with "Pancasila" as its ideology and "Bhinneka Tunggal Ika" as the national theme. Indonesia's national unity is based on, and supported by its diversity.
There was a time in Indonesia's recent history when diversity was suppressed in the name of unity or, to be precise, uniformity. That did not work even though the regime championing that approach was in power for more than 30 years.
During the constitutional reform process from 1999 to 2002, the temptation to replace the foundation of the state was again surfaced, now in Parliament. But that did not work either. In fact, the proposal was withdrawn even before it was tabled. It did not gain any support.
In 2014, Indonesia today has became more mature and confident in its diversity. It has became stronger and more united. Democract has provided space and energy for diversity to flourish.
But it is not without challenges. Indonesia today is challenged to maintain and bolster its economic growth. At the same time, it needs to ensure a more equitable distribution of wealth; eradicating poverty; developing new centers of growth in the regions; strengthening manufacturing and processing industries; empowering farmers, fishermen, and small-holder plantation owners; and providing better access to education and health services.
The new government has made the right identification of the problems. It also has built up the right plans and gathered the right people. But again, execution is not an easy task. There are at least three major issues surfacing, namely reforming the bureaucracy, eradicating corruption and speeding up infrastructure development.
In this regard, reform is a continuing process. It is not a single event. It is a continuing effort to strengthen the foundations of the Republic and to strengthen its economy to ensure that Indonesia remains relevant to its people and to the rest of the world. (KJRI LA)