Thursday, 27 January 2011

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By the way ... Sir, your slogans are killing me...

Dibaca :
We live with slogans all around us. Normally, they are inspirational words or phrases that encourage us to achieve more, like “Freedom or Death”, which was a popular slogan aimed at boosting patriotism during the independence struggle.

But these days, slogans exist unfortunately to reveal some ironies in our society.

Earlier this week, like any good citizen, I went to a police office to renew my motorcycle registration.
Anyone who has visited this police office would probably be quite skeptical about the police slogans on display there.

The slogans primarily underline the corps’ endeavor to provide better services for the public, and dissuade people from hiring calo (middleman or scalpers) when they come to renew documents or to do any other business.

“Don’t trust the middleman,” reads one banner printed in bold letters. “We promise you a quick process. We will finish your document within 90 minutes,” reads another.
All the slogans sound good and are promising but I don’t think reform can proceed swiftly in this institution after decades of corruption.

My skepticism was soon justified. As soon as I parked my motorcycle, a young man approached me.

“It seems you want to renew your vehicle document. I can help you, pak,” he said, handing me a parking ticket.

Curious, I asked him how long the process would take if I used his service.

“It will take around 30 to 40 minutes,” he said confidently.

I decided to take his offer and paid the extra money, which according to him, would be given to “the officers inside”.

The man came back to me about 40 minutes later with the new document. I didn’t know how to react. I was happy about the quick process. But my disappointment over the rotten bureaucracy was overwhelming.

The police office is not the only institution that loves to put up slogans around its premises.
Another institution, which has similar habits, is national railway company PT KAI.

The number of banners bearing different slogans usually increases ahead of holiday seasons. The “don’t trust ticket scalpers” banners dominate every corner of major railway stations.

Both the police and the railway company put up numerous banners highlighting their commitment to cracking down on middlemen and ticket scalpers — in a bid to create a clean bureaucracy. Months and years have passed but the problems prevail.

The immigration office is also known as a haven for scalpers.

On another day, I went to an immigration office and saw a man offering “assistance” to a visitor. The immigration office may have suggested that the public not hire calo but the fact that some officers had befriended the scalpers and were drinking coffee with them in a canteen there clearly provided clues about what was really happening.

But the biggest slogan of all (in this case we also include promises) must be the ones from the President. During his presidential campaign, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono promised to eradicate corruption, collusion and nepotism, popularly known as KKN.

Yudhoyono also promised to create a clean, transparent and accountable government.

He even launched the slogan “Bersama Kita Bisa” or “Together We Can”. After six years of leadership, however, the people haven’t seen an improvement in corruption eradication. Instead, there are ironies in the fight against corruption.

Almost every day people watch TV or read newspapers only to find reports about corruption or bribery. Worse, most news outlets don’t report the progress in corruption eradication but mostly report on how state institutions are engaged in the blame game.

Graft suspect Gayus H. Tambunan was previously only linked to bribery and tax evasion cases. His trips to cities at home and abroad have underlined how bad bureaucracy is at the police and immigration offices.

It is high time for state institutions and, of course, the President to meet their promises and prove that their slogans are for real. People are already sick of corruption. Six years is more than enough to conduct a thorough bureaucracy overhaul.

Or should we contact a calo to shortcut corruption eradication?

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