“I have to dig into my own pocket just to buy souvenirs!” Third World Politician

I slept in again today, an inexpensive luxury I do appreciate, but I woke to a sickening saga in the Jakarta Globe.


Jakarta_slumhome_2   Jakarta slum


Bali fun Kuta Square Bali


The tale of a ‘fact-finding’ mission  – a three-day trip to Bali on Wednesday, at a total cost to taxpayers of Rp 341 million ($23,800) – by Jakarta city councillors, would be hilarious, were it not for the real fact that Jakarta’s population includes millions who barely get by on what they can earn, plus many more who don’t ‘get by’ in any terms recognisable to most of us, sleeping under fly-overs or in ramshackle shacks along rail tracks.



Now we read how the planned (?) meeting at the Bali Provincial Parliament didn’t happen.

Their gracious hosts had themselves embarked on a study trip to Yogyakarta. The Jakarta councilors spent the next 15 minutes taking turns to go to the toilet, before boarding their tour bus and leaving.

They were also scheduled to visit Denpasar’s famous “trash bank” – where low-income residents can hand in recyclable waste for money – but only one out of the 32 councilors showed up….the unidentified councilor “took about four photographs, then said goodbye. That was it.” Another trash bank official, Made Surya Kencana, said the councilor did not ask any questions about the facility or how it worked.


It’s hard not to think about the old European tradition of tarring and feathering when you read this sorry saga!


Jakarta contrasts


The capital teems with desperately poor people.

My frequent shopping trips to Citraland, where I’m in the habit of changing Busway buses at Halte Busway Grogol, are a constant reminder of this, the little ‘homes’ under the bridges, complete with little sticks of ‘furniture,’ shelves with personal belongings, even a few pictures and calendars tacked somehow to the huge concrete buttresses.

And Grogol is by no means the worst you can observe in this capital city with its possibly (nobody knows!) 20 million inhabitants.

The quote we chose for this post’s title sums up the mentality of much of the political elite – you can check the link and read what Donal Fariz, from Indonesia Corruption Watch, has to say about the nonsense.

Here’s a taster from the JG report.

Donal Fariz, a researcher with Indonesia Corruption Watch, questioned the purpose and value of the trip. For one thing, he said, the public works department in Jakarta was more advanced than that in Bali, so the councilors would learn nothing new from visiting the Bali office.


But don’t single out Jakarta alone for blame.

This happens not only here in Indonesia, but also in the West. 



Obama golf trips cost taxpayers $3M – Washington Times

To be fair, at least Obama didn’t complain, as far as I know, about having to buy his own souvenirs! Nor did he claim to be doing any useful work at the millionaire golf resorts.


We live in an electronically connected world, video-conferencing as easy as pie. When the Balinese legislators come back from Jogja, they can set one up, with these Jakarta jaunters, very inexpensively 

These people have plenty of money of their own.

If they want to visit Bali –  or play golf on luxurious courses – why should the hard-pressed public purse be drained to subsidise their trips?


  • ahok Honest Ahok


Meanwhile, what’s our Jakarta Governor, Ahok, a man known for tough talk, going to say, and hopefully do, about his councillors’ enviable outing?