Indonesia Anonymus

We are a group of Indonesians, ranting about our beloved country. This blog is a result of many people grumbling about many things in many ways.
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Anonymus is the Latin word for anonymous, the correct English spelling. The Latin spelling, however, is traditionally used by scholars in the humanities to refer to an ancient writer whose name is not known, or to a manuscript of their work. Read more at Wikipedia.

Our blog in Bahasa Indonesia (but rarely updated) can be found here.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

In and Out

Nobody around here likes to talk about the recent economic crisis it seems. Probably because it is an eerie reminder of 1997. Alas, there is no escaping it. The dark days are here again, and sooner or later, we will have to face it. the Jakarta stock market has started taken the beating, and the rupiah is going nowhere but down.

So are we ready? (Or is that a silly question, especially after we witnessed even US and Europe are caught unprepared?)

How do you prepare for a crisis anyway? Are we even aware of what is coming?

So we asked around, during coffee breaks, in elevators, while walking to parking lot.

Most answers are standard: Sure, the value of our currency will go down, export slows, and with that unemployment will rise, it's all bad news but nothing new.

"Are we ready? We'll never be ready, but after 1997, less things would surprise us. At least this time our banks are still standing." (Or is that too early to say?).

"It will be just like 1997 but hopefully without the fall of government. If we can go through the economic crisis without political crisis and - God forbid - the riot, then it is already a step forward." said some.

Looks like the scar of 1997 has made us somewhat zen in facing the current economic turmoil.

One friend however gave a somewhat different answer compared to the majority:

"Are we ready going into another economic crisis? Going IN?
My friend, we are in. We have been in it since 1997. Whatever made you think we have gotten out from that one? Look at the value of rupiah: it never recovered. Look at our per capita GDP. (Indonesia's per capita GDP (PPP) was $3,770 in 1996 [1], and now it is $3,600 [2]. Still less than prior to 1997 crisis).

"Are we ready? We are already in it for ten years now. We're not just ready, we're bl**dy experts..."

What a cynicism. Or is that optimism? We can't really tell.

[1] World Factbook 1997, from University of Missouri St Louis site.
[2] CIA The World Factbook - Indonesia