Indonesian blogosphere: Season of forgiveness, Indonesian poor and parliament member salary increase

Next week on Thursday, millions of Indonesian are going to celebrate Eid ul-Fitr that mark the end of Ramadhan, the month of fasting, this simply the biggest holiday in Indonesia the most populous Muslim country in the world.

On this annual ritual almost all governments and offices will close their doors for business, school will also be in break, family travel a long distance to get together.

New clothes bought, special foods prepared, extra obligatory one month salary distributed.

Blogs, website forum and mailing list groups are full of posting celebrating the day of victory. Emails, SMS and instant messaging broadcasting message to ask for forgiveness, replacing the old way of sending mail card or actually meet the person.

The new modern way, can reach thousands of people at once, making it less personal for everybody.

This year it will be interesting to see if the 60 million people fall in government category as poor and scheduled to receive government's direct subsidy to offset the costs of fuel price increase will feel as festive as we all always seem manage to do.

Duncan Graham at Indonesia Now has posted the 14 government's poor criteria that make you qualified to receive Rp 100,000 (US$ 10) per month paid in every three months sum.

Highlights of the criteria: live in a house of less than 8 square meters per person, eat only once or twice a day, earn less that than Rp 600,000 (US$ 60) a month (US$ 2/day).

This put a lot of perspective on how Indonesia is doing and frustrating at the same time, that 1 in 4 Indonesian still lives like this in a country with abundant natural resource.

I can only guess what 60 million people feel when they hear that in the same period Indonesian House of Representative member will get Rp 10 million (US$ 1000) monthly salary increase, making their total take home pay to Rp 36.806.560 (US$ 3600).

It's a good thing that Eid ul-Fitr (or Idul Fitri as Indonesian pronounce it) is also the season of forgiveness and we have this every year.

(By the way, how much is the Indonesian president, vice president and provincial governor is making monthly? Rp 62.740.000 (US$ 6200), Rp 42.160.000 (US$ 4200), Rp 8.400.000 (US$ 840) respectively)

This week Indonesian also comomorate a big Indonesian struggle history event. Indonesian founding fathers's Youth Pledge (Sumpah Pemuda), on 28 October, 77 years ago.

At the first Youth Nationalist Convention they all pledge together ‘one country, one nation, one language: Indonesia’, a pledge that has become the first milestone and practically gives birth to nationalism.

I hope Indonesian founding fathers are not too disappointed if they can see how their “dream” are doing right now.


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