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Nathan Paul Iskandar (06120120020)

Hanna Suteja
Academic Writing
27 November 2014
Indonesias Need of Jokowis Mental Revolution
Indonesia, the nation with the largest Muslim population, had ever experienced leadership
under an iron fist ruler under Soehartos presidency from the year 1967 until 1998. Since the
Reformation in 1998, Indonesia had shown quite many changes and improvements in various
aspects of national development. Nevertheless, it still has one of its biggest problems and
challenges, its peoples mentality that still pertains to the old, repressive era. Today, in the 21st
century, with the rapid and increasing growth of development and population in the country,
Indonesia desperately needs an immediate act of recovery towards changing the mentality of the
people as for the betterment of the nations condition. Thanks to Joko Widodo, Jakartas former
governor (now Indonesias president), Indonesia has been welcomed by a new, reviving fresh air
of democratization and leadership style that has attracted many of the Indonesian people. During
his presidential campaign months ago, he induced a concept in his vision and mission that many
Indonesians had longed for to be happening in their country, the Mental Revolution. As quoted
from The Jakarta Globe, Jokowi had stated that the country needs a Mental Revolution as a
reason to change ourselves, so that this nation can reach its potential, because we are a big
nation. Lets change our mentality from the negative to the positive. Although mental revolution
might not be a new idea to most people, the fact that it was Joko Widodo, widely known as
Jokowi, who brought forth the idea nationwide brings excitement for change in the heart of
many Indonesians. Yes, Indonesia indeed needs the Mental Revolution, which will surely bring
forth several of the following significant national improvements.
Corruption and Opportunism. To begin with, Indonesia needs the Mental Revolution to
minimize corruptions and opportunism as many as possible. Sad but true, Indonesia has now
been ranked as one of the worlds most corrupt countries. Corruption has in fact been one of the
nations biggest problems since a long time ago. Many Indonesians who had been exposed to

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corruption were usually government officials, businessmen, as well as police officers.
Corruption, in its simplest definition, might be defined as a literal dishonest act(s),
usually involving bribery, for the purpose of personal gain. In response to the growing concern in
the increasing number of corruptions, the nation had somewhat responded to this concern by
establishing the Indonesian Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) in 2003. During its first
establishment, KPK has been struggling to minimize the number of corruptions in the country,
bringing no little or significant changes. However, the Commisions recent efforts to reduce the
number of corruption have caught more of the publics attention. Under the leadership of
Abraham Samad, KPK has been able to eradicate some of the most delicate, well-planned
corruption acts such as the case of Insp. Gen. Djoko Susilo regarding the purchase of driving
simulators in 2013 and the case of Banten provinces governor Ratu Atut in 2014. Samad himself
was recently known by the public as having strong, moral characters. During the presidential
campaign few months back, some of the public even supported him to be the next Indonesian
vice-president. To some people, this support might as well be part of the Jokowi effect
influence at the time, in light of the publics acclaim for Jokowis leadership style. According to
Jokowi, as quoted from The Jakarta Post, to start the mental revolution in the areas of corruption
and opportunism, the country needs to start creating a political system that is accountable, free
of corrupt practices and intimidation by fixing on how leaders recruit political players, who
must rely more on their skills and track records rather than their money and closeness to decision
Intolerance of Differences. Next, Indonesia needs the Mental Revolution to remove completely
the intolerance of differences between its people. These intolerant acts will usually point out to
the peoples differences regarding their ethnicity and religion. To many Indonesians, intolerance
regarding ethnicity tends to point toward those of Chinese descent. Chinese immigrants in
Indonesia had existed since hundreds of years ago. During the Dutch colonization in the 1700s,
many Indonesians of Chinese descent had faced numerous racial discrimination and violence.
The worst happened during the outbreak of 1998s riot, where thousands of them were killed and
raped. As a result, many had experienced identity crisis. This is just a part of the dark side of
Indonesian history.
Intolerance in the aspect of religion is another thing. Although as a nation we have
proclaimed our national motto Bhinneka Tunggal Ika (Unity in Diversity), the reality of whats

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happening is almost entirely the opposite. Many of our people were still not open to pluralism,
including religion. We have seen lots of churches being burned and often been prohibited by the
locals (Muslim majority) if they were to be built around the areas where they live. Groups of
Islamic radicalists such as FPI (Islamic Defenders Front) had long been causing uneasiness
among the public, partly because often times they threatened minorities and resolved problems
through violence.
Perhaps the only national character in the past that was ever bold enough to rise, speak
up, and stand against intolerance of differences is Indonesias 4th president Abdurrahman Wahid
Gus Dur. During his presidency, many of his words and actions promoted ethnic and religious
tolerance by allowing Chinese Indonesians to celebrate Chinese New Year as well as saying one
of his famous quotes, It doesnt matter what your religion or race is. If you can do something
good to all people, people will not ask what your religion is.
Besides Abdurrahman Wahid, things also started to improve and change when, in 2012,
Basuki Tjahaja Purnama (Ahok) was elected vice-governor of Jakarta, leading the city with
elected governor Joko Widodo. Soon after they were sworn into office as governor and vicegovernor, not just the Jakartans, but even Indonesia began to see Basuki as the nations Godgiven answer role model to the nations need of Mental Revolution in the areas of ethnic and
religious tolerance. Before he was elected vice-governor (now governor of Jakarta after Jokowis
rise to presidency), he was formerly a Chinese Christian legislator in the Indonesian Peoples
Representative Council and Regent of East Belitung. His rise to office as vice-governor and now
governor of Jakarta has encouraged many Indonesians to promote ethnic and religious tolerance
towards minorities.
Law Enforcement. Furthermore, Jokowis Mental Revolution will bring significant
improvements in law enforcement. Over the years, Indonesia has not been solid enough in
implementing its national laws and regulations. The practice of corruption and several other
moral issues have since long been inhibiting the national law enforcement to grow and improve.
Nevertheless, with the Mental Revolution in mind, the nation can be brought back to its
healthy state.
Law enforcement brings order. In reality, many law violations had been made in various
places throughout the country. The never-ending national issues such as human trafficking,
excessive deforestation, and illegal importation of goods have constantly reflected the weak

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control and enforcement of the laws in Indonesia. Frankly speaking, the mistake is not in the law
itself but more to the mentality of the people. The laws and regulations are indeed good and
well-constructed already, but how they are being executed is the problem. As a result, this
inconsistency of law enforcement has often times created a blurry line between what is right and
what is wrong. As an easy example, consider the following case about traffic regulation in
Jakarta which states that no other vehicles other than Transjakarta buses are allowed to enter the
busway lane. The rule has been clearly stated and published, yet unsurprisingly, many still
violated. Again and again, the only possible explanation for this is its weak law enforcement plus
the mentality of the drivers. Police officers are not frequently guarding the busway lanes which
often cause drivers to pass through them without any guilt. Yes, our police officers are indeed
very limited in numbers in comparison to the rapid increasing number of vehicles in Jakarta.
That surely might be a strong factor. However, the strongest factor lies again in the mentality
(including moral and character) of the people. Police or no police, they should have known that
violating laws means disrespecting others as well as themselves.
Law enforcement brings justice. As for today, we have seen injustice spreading
everywhere in Indonesia. From the social gap between the rich and the poor to the injustice being
shown in daily practical stuff such as on the streets where motorcycles always win concept has
been for such a long time instilled in the minds of most road users in Indonesia, we have not seen
any definite effort of the nation to resolve these problems. But thanks to the now-established
President Joko Widodo, many believe he will be able to bring about moral changes to the nation
through his vision and mission of bringing Mental Revolution to the minds and hearts of his
people. Moreover, law enforcement brings about the clarity of where people should seek for
justice. Once it is established, it might then be a sign that Indonesia is heading toward maturity
as a nation. In short, the Mental Revolution in terms of law enforcement will significantly
increase the realization of Indonesians that laws are not made to be violated, but instead they are
made for good reasons as for the nations order and safety.
To sum up, the current state of Indonesia has forced itself to enter the Mental Revolution stage.
There is simply no more time to wait for change because, as a developing country, we are still
left behind with other countries in many different aspects. Most western and several Asian
countries, despite their great imperfections, have shown us quite well on what it takes to become

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successful nations. To bring and to make effective Jokowis idea of Mental Revolution,
which includes minimalizing corruption and opportunism, promoting ethnic and religious
tolerance among the people, and having more concern for better law enforcement, we cannot just
rely on one person to do it all. It takes each and everyone of us Indonesians, united with one
vision and mission, to be willing to build the better Indonesia. It is our responsibility and duty to
serve among the Indonesians in the field that we are good at, so as to promote and bring a
healthy Mental Revolution to the country. That is why President Joko Widodo himself keeps
on telling us to unite and work together as Indonesians, regardless of our differences, if we really
want to see better changes happening in Indonesia. We can surely change if we want to. There is
still hope.

1. Please note that any direct quotes taken are written in their original form. There may
have been some texts written in the informal form of English.
2. The author provides his own definition of the word corruption based on his
understanding of the word. The insertion of the definition is for the purpose of re-emphasizing
the deflecting moral values in the acts of corruption.
3. The insertion of Basuki Tjahaja Purnama historical background regarding his past
position as legislator in the Indonesian Peoples Representative Council and Regent of East

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Belitung is merely for the purpose of additional information.

Works Cited
Jong, Nicholas Hans. Jokowi Wants to Start Mental Revolution. The Jakarta Post. 12 May
2014. Web. 20 Nov. 2014.
McGregor, Katharine. Echo of History in Jokowis Mental Revolution. Election Watch
Indonesia. The University of Melbourne. 29 Apr. 2014. Web. 20 Nov. 2014.
Purnamasari, Deti Mega, and Markus Junianto Sihaloho. Jokowi Lays Out Agricultural
Manifesto for Indonesia. The Jakarta Globe. 27 Apr. 2014. Web. 20 Nov. 2014.
Teresia, Ananda. Jokowi: Indonesia Needs a Mental Revolution. 25 Apr. 2014.

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Web. 20 Nov. 2014.