“Hello Ubudian, yes you are most welcome to have your own opinion, but let's face it, from a tiny village outside Ubud you don't really know much about what goes on in Jakarta and West Java except from what you see on TV .”
It’s precisely that sort of presumptive comment from you that often gets you into trouble. And moreover, that comment presumes that you would know more, living in Kuala Lumpur until very recently.
Firstly, my wife’s older sister is married to a long time member of the Bali Provincial DPRD and a key member of his political party. He is in Jakarta a lot, is well connected and serves on several national committees. We speak very often, almost daily, and I suspect that my insight into what is going on concerning the political climate in Jakarta is likely better than if I actually lived there, and didn’t have that family connection.
My Balinese wife holds a masters in business administration, and up until 1998, worked in Jakarta in a managerial position. Another brother in law is a national artist of Indonesia, I Made Djirna, and through him I have personally met a number of the heavy hitting Jakarta tycoons, as many of them are avid art collectors, as I am. And, in the conduct of family business, I am not without my own trips to, and time spent in Jakarta, although in the past five years, I haven’t been there as often as I once was.
My wife’s family is prominent and well known. As typical with Balinese families, her family is quite large, and also, it is very close. Within her family there are high level police officers, immigration and customs officials, business persons, priests, and as already mentioned, high level political figures. I know these people. I have been living with them 24/7 for more than the past 15 years.
And then of course I have my own considerable contacts here on Bali, and they start with his Excellency, the Governor of Bali, I Made Mangku Pastika on down. My association with Mangku Pastika is through his personal Balian, who has been my own Balian, even before I met my wife. Of course my personal contacts go well beyond his Excellency, but I surmise that a long list of “who is who on Bali” isn’t necessary. However, I am totally confident “Mike” that if we played a game of “who is better known” running your real name around Bali would produce little in the way of confirmation of what you claim as your contacts (heretofore nameless), and my contacts.
This particular topic thread is about medical insurance and health related matters on Bali…not Jakarta or western Java. So in reality, all of this discussion about Jakarta and western Java, which you introduced to this thread, is off topic anyway. Nonetheless, it might be that we can accomplish something here, so I’ll continue.
As a side note, I was originally solicited by the forum founder to accept the designation “Indonesian expert” and not simply “Bali expert.” I turned that designation down because while I believe my knowledge of Indonesia as a whole is pretty good, it is indeed Bali where I have the greatest amount of expertise and experience. And moreover, that experience is recent and continuous for more than the past 15 years.
“Whereas you have chosen to speak the opposite and say there is almost no corruption and that Indonesia is so wonderful.”
This is another area which also often gets you into trouble…your annoying tendency to put words in other mouths. I have never said, nor could you ever find anything I’ve ever written, either here or on numerous other forums or blogs where I participate, that states “there is almost no corruption in Indonesia.” What I have accurately stated, over and over, is that great progress has been made here in Indonesia regarding corruption, and that today with immigration and customs officials, one does not find anywhere near the levels of corruption that used to plague this great country. That truism has been supported numerous times by other long time permanent residents and regular participants on this forum. More importantly, it’s the truth.
Am I an optimist when it comes to Indonesia? Absolutely yes, and my respect and profound appreciation for this great country made my decision to take full Indonesian citizenship all that more easy. However, my optimism does not cloud my objectivity, and once again, I challenge you to produce anything written by me that would lead anyone to logically conclude otherwise.
And yes, Indonesia is wonderful, and again, as most anyone who has lived here for as long as I have will agree, it keeps getting better, albeit there is still room for improvement. No doubt there will always be room for improvement here. That is the message that I continuously relay on this forum, and it’s also the same message conveyed by those other long time permanent expats who regularly post here.
And seriously, if you are more reliant on the comments of one particular Balinese driver as opposed to the balanced and more comprehensive comments you can read here by numerous sources, both Indonesian as well as expats, then I suggest you re-think just how it is you formulate your own opinions.
“But the way I see it is that so many Asian countries have the same problems, and Indonesia is no better than the others, and in many cases much worse.”
And this is a third area which often gets you into trouble…your tendency to make broad sweeping comments which are not offered as opinion, but rather as fact, and without any sort of documentation.
So, let’s take that last comment and dissect it a bit by two simple questions…what counties in Asia is Indonesia “much worse” than? And, how is “much worse” to be defined? What possible useful purpose do such broad sweeping comments have? The question is of course rhetorical, because the obvious answer is “none.”
“You should also remember that I too am married into an Indonesian family and have chosen Indonesia as my home.”
According to you, your move to Bandung is very recent…recent as in just this past month. Also according to you, you lived here in Bali sometime during the 1980’s and into the 1990’s. None of this is verifiable, and none of it is documented. On the other hand I offer a direct link on every post I make here to my section on Virtual Tourist which provides a huge amount of documentation as well as many photos which only someone who is living here, and deeply immersed in the local culture, could have ever possibly taken. Sorry to be blunt, but we have only your word on your experience in Indonesia, whereas I can offer members on this forum who have known me for many years, have been to my compound outside of Ubud, and know me and my family very well. This is a matter of credibility, and in that regard I must be honest and simply say, you don’t have any credibility, because all we have is your word, and a slew of postcard like photos of Bali on the Bali photo images segment of this forum…photos which are typically taken by any visiting tourist to Bali.
I don’t know if we can reconcile or not. I’m still trying to put aside another comment you made on this thread (now removed) where you stated, (and in direct support of that now banned troll) “half of what Ubudian says is utter nonsense but there are some who will blindly follow anything he says.”
Nobody “blindly follows me” on this forum, but I have earned the respect of many long term expats who also regularly participate on this forum. Thus your condescending comment (also now removed) to lukerege was particularly nasty, “well it's not often I see hero worship.”
If we are going to reconcile and find a way to mutually co-exist on this forum, then you are going to have to make some considerable changes to the way you post, keeping in mind the various comments I’ve just made. It really is up to you.
Since you already admit that you get a lot of your information about Indonesia from your Indonesian wife, I might also suggest that you let her read this particular post and listen to what I strongly suspect she will say.
Note to moderators…before editing or removing this post, please consult with Julien.