18 – the worry that lingers on

Disclaimer: I’m not trying to make a commentary post about the political situation, or whatever kerfuffle is going on in Indonesia right now. God knows I don’t have the capacity to do so.

I’m just desperately trying to see a good reason of why, or rather how, I should stay here.

These past few months, I’ve been getting asked one question more than usually: why the hell did I come back to Indonesia? Right. First of all, I did leave for the sake of leaving.

Studying had a nice ring into it, but to be quite honest, it was a vessel, a reason for me to leave. At that time, I just needed to leave the country for whatever purpose. Did it feel good? Yes, for the most part. Not blaming them for any of it, but in the end family always comes first. As soon as I learned how slim my chances were of settling down in SG and taking them with me, getting back home became a priority. I thought to myself that well, it’s not like I’m going to move to a whole different place, I was simply going to be back home, to my loved ones, to go back to how life was, just slightly improved.

I’m beginning to see and feel like that might not be the case at all.

Sure, everyone was raving about “the new era of the new government”. A New Hope, some even said. But the thing that might have skipped everyone’s minds is that even in Star Wars, there were battles and wars to be won. It took Luke Skywalker 3 whole episodes to restore order wth The Force, mind you, and we can see that President Jokowi is no Jedi knight.

Of course, through a strange turn of events, I ended up the way I am now, working in a position that involves being in close relations with all sorts of government institutions. When the new administration took over, it really felt like things were finally getting better. But was it, really?

In true Indonesian fashion, when you take little steps forward, something always grabs you by the ankle and fling you backwards. Just when the government is taking baby steps battling their inner demons (if you catch my drift), the people seemed to be losing humanity. And by how things are going, I fear that we are plunging down rapidly down the evil rabbit hole.

It seems that Indonesia has been making headlines for a bit.. For all the wrong reasons. First the forest burning, the religious intolerance, the so-called uprising of the kelas menengah ngehe, the traffic that still gets worse when you think it just can’t go any worse, the obscene Halal law, the growing number of ex-ministers getting indicted for corruption, the death sentences, you name it. As much as I would have loved to stay optimistic, this country seems to running fully on knee-jerk reactions. I would only assume that from the outside looking in, anyone in the other side of the world would see us as a country flushing ourselves down into a deep shithole.

Funnily enough, the fact that I’m this worried has gotten me mixed reactions. Friends and colleagues have told me different opinions that range from “Well then that’s a good thing that you’re here, the country needs you to be here, so you can prove to the world that there is some good still left in this country” to “Well, you are easily part of the majority here and you have actually left once, if you are that insecure why don’t you just get on the next plane out?”, that I even question myself whether I am actually entitled to be worried in the first place.

I know I’ve been through a lot of things growing up in this country, I just hope I’ll be patient enough to be able to see the good part that will eventually happen. It’s just a matter of riding the waves knowing that the raging storm will pass, even though you don’t know when.


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