Monkey Mail: This, That and the Other Thing

By webadmin on 10:21 pm May 04, 2012
Category Archive

Robert Finlayson

It’s a truism that many people speak with authority, but very few speak the truth.

It’s odd, though, for a truism to be apparent as you wander in your usual daze through life. At least, I seem to wander in such a manner, dreaming about this or that while lots of other “thats” or “thises” are going on in front of my nose, most of which can be classified as people speaking authoritatively but not saying anything that’s true. But not to be too hard on myself, it’s not really possible to grasp every little ripple of reality as it washes about, is it, and bathe in its harsh beauty?

Unless, of course, you are a member of the fabled Dewan Perwakilan Rakyat, or the House of Representatives, defenders of the world’s fourth-largest democracy. Here, in one rather odd-looking building, are gathered some fine specimens who not only speak with tremendous authority but also always speak the truth — yes they do, lots of different truths, especially when they are ratting on their fellows while arraigned before the anti-corruption court.

It is a heart-warming and edifying spectacle, hearing our fine representatives pronounce with authority that everything is this thing and then, after due consideration of the matter, brought about, perhaps, by a particularly poignant piece of evidence from a prosecutor, announce with equal authority that everything is not this thing but, indeed, that thing.

I firmly believe that this shows flexibility of thinking, what some would call creativity, and, if so, then our representatives must also be our finest artists, something that the Yellow Party, those wisest and most experienced of authority-speakers, want to formalize in their selection process for future candidates.

Isn’t that just great? And also great timing? Really, it’s a stroke of political genius, showing just how on the ball the Party is: To announce this policy just as prosecutors are toying with our former Miss-Indonesia-cum-representative-cum-corruption-defendant, wondering just what it will take to get her to rat fully and freely on all her pals in the DPR and beyond.

At this fascinating and tender moment in the history of modern Indonesian politics, the famed Yellow Men, ever-aware of the apt word and the telling moment, decide that what is needed to boost their chances of electoral success are not honest, smart, hardworking and dedicated candidates, but celebrities. Not that celebrities might not have all of these qualities, of course. Perhaps they do, like former Miss Indonesia perhaps does or perhaps doesn’t (we will have to await the court’s verdict before we can say either way, with authority, even if not with truth).

Be that as it may, I rather like the idea of an all-singing, all-dancing DPR. The House would be the envy of the world and it would certainly put a bang back into business. Instead of staying away in droves from their $2,000 seats in the chamber while they pursue constituents’ interests in, say, Bangkok, Las Vegas or Paris, the reps will be hard at work in committee rooms polishing up their repertoire in order to bash out a duet with a hot former starlet or hunky former guitarist in a karaoke question time. Not to mention getting their grooves ironed out in order to goyang, shake their booty, while debating a bill on this or that of a different sort of booty.

But I digress. What I set out to say at the start, but was distracted by all the tinsel, flam-flam and high-kicking, knees-up reps, was that I may not speak with authority but I sometimes, at least, speak the truth. For example, doubting Thomases who, in an earlier post, questioned my reference to becak or trishaws in Jakarta can simply get out a bit more: Head into the depths of Galur and Luar Batang and you will find the spindly but strong machines still hard at work pushed by their splindier, stronger and harder working riders who do cross against the edicts of our beloved Jakarta Government occasionally and venture out onto carriageways that are more than a couple of meters wide and upon which there are speeding automobiles and, in my case, a motorcycle. Trust me, it’s the truth.