In the middle of series of event during the 2nd ASEAN-U.S. Leaders Summit, Indonesian Vice President, prof. Dr. Boediono, took the time to attend social gathering with approximately 40 figures from Indonesian community in New York and its vicinity, on Thursday, 23 September 2010. The event is held at Pancasila Room, Consulate General of the Republic of Indonesia in New York, for approximately 2 hours. This event drew together Indonesian Vice President with academicians, professionals, religious leaders, students, as well as representatives of the community in New York, New Jersey, and Philadelphia. Besides, also attended the event were Minister for Foreign Affairs, Dr. Marty M. Natalegawa; Head of Presidential Division on Development Control and Surveillance (UKP4), Kuntoro Mangkusubroto; Head of BKPM, Gita Wirjawan; Indonesian Ambassador in Washington, DC., Dr. Dino Patti Djalal; as well as Indonesian Permanent Representative to UN, Hasan Kleib.
Indonesian Ambassador in his welcoming remarks, presented a short illustration concerning the composition of Indonesian community who live in U.S. As reflected from the guests, Indonesian community in U.S. generally are divided into several community and religious organizations, beside acedemicians and students. Although many of Indonesians here work as professionals, Indonesian Ambassador regreted that there has not been any professional organization to cope with activities from various professions. He also illustrated the condition as well as opportunity to develop Indonesian restaurants in the middle of culinary diversity in New York. It is expected that we take full benefit of this opportunity, including through the establishment of professional organization to support the development and improvement of Indonesian community quality of life overseas.
During the event which is interactively hosted by Indonesian Ambassador, Indonesian Vice President mentioned several important matters in regards to recent major transformation process, especially in relations to democracy.
Quoting the novel 'Freedom' by Jonathan Franzen, Vice President stated that democracy has several limitations and if those are violated, then the freedom will be missing. In line with has been said by Plato, democracy without limit or democracy that does not respect any limitation could lead to anarchy. If anarchy takes place, we would need to undergo a significant adjustment through authoritarianism. The pendulum movement from democracy to authoritarianism in human life could be understood as the struggle between freedom and order which requires a balance.
Furthermore, Vice President mentioned that we need to be cautious in regards to two things in democracy. These two things are disfunctionality and degeneration, the Vice President calls it with the term 'Two D.'
Disfunctionality refers to democracy system which only focuses on freedom, but does not bring a real benefit to the community. In this case, the community then becomes skeptical with democracy and looks for a new alternative, one of which is back to authoritarianism. While degeneration could be defined as the slow process of weakening from the inside of democracy. Without a clear regulations which are obeyed by all parties, democracy will decay. The causes of 'Two D,' as explained by Indonesian Vice President, are corruption, money politics, as well as politics of bureaucracy.
Indonesian Vice President also stated that a safe, orderly, and good transformation process requires cooperation from all parties. Democracy should ensure freedom and bring benefit for the people. This is a long process of transformation and now is the beginning of the process. Anyone could contribute in the process according to each sector and capability. Therefore, Indonesian Vice President expects that Indonesian community in New York could be part of this transformation process, even though they are far from the home country.
In response to questions from community figures regarding government efforts to cope with recent anarchic acts by particular groups in Indonesia, Vice President underlined that besides continuous efforts in law enforcement, the most important thing is the awareness and good faith of each group to live together in one nation as the foundation for the existence of our nation.
In regards to education sector in Indonesia, Vice President highlighted that development in education should be started from the very basic level to ensure a n excel quality of human resources. Even though high-level education at the graduate and post-graduate levels are important, but the strengthening of quality at the college as well as middle-level education are considered more important. Vice President also expressed his hope for Indonesian diaspora overseas, so someday in the future they will return to their home country to contribute their skills for the development of our nation.
In this occassion, based on instruction from the Vice President, Head of UKP4, Mr. Kuntoro Mangkusubroto, also explained government policy in regards to environmental issue, especially climate change. Head of UKP4 said that Indonesia has made a commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions as part of its efforts in coping with climate change. He also mentioned cooperation between the government of Indonesia and Norway on climate change.
The dialogue session between Vice President and Indonesian community in New York is ended with a dinner and photo session. (Source: Consulate General of the Republic of Indonesia in New York)