23 Oktober 2009

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Talk less, the principles of Boedionomics

My friend Miranti sat nervously beside me when we were waiting for the vice-president-elect Boediono to give his lecture to around 300 students, lecturers, and other economic academics inside the University of Indonesia’s School of Economics auditorium on Sept. 14.

“I think he’s definitely the right man for the job. You know, both my parents are big fans of him and during the presidential election my father continuously told me about how humble he is and how his overwhelming economic knowledge can bolster Indonesia’s economy in the future,” she said.
At that time, the excitement of hearing his lecture live and seeing the vice-president-elect in person was extremely high among us economics students – so high that auditorium seats were fully booked three days before the lecture itself.
But in the end, Miranti’s massive excitement, and the excitement of the 300 other students, turned out to be a massive disappointment.
During his 2-hour lecture, Boediono presented us a tedious show, appearing like a professor more concerned about a textbook than the mood of his audience.
Despite the fact the person who was giving the lecture up front was actually the vice-president-elect, he fell short of expectations. His talk was similar to the many monotonous economics lectures I have frequently avoided attending.
But as the lecture ended and many of my friends walked out dissatisfied, regretting their decision to attend, I still walked out feeling blissful as his performance on the stage was very much what I had anticipated, even before he took the floor.
Boediono is a dyed-on-the-wool technocrat who is renowned neither for his inspiring words or his charismatic speeches – it’s his accomplishment in bringing Indonesia’s economy to the highest level that is responsible for his prominence.
 “From a technocrat to a half-politician – it’s a completely unimaginable transformation for me,” Boediono said at the beginning of his lecture.
In fact, technocrats were born to be working in the background and therefore they are. In the case of Boediono himself, I was very impressed with the way the 66-year-old always managed to keep a cool head when replying to harsh criticism from the likes of retired generals such as Prabowo Subianto and Wiranto, in various issues during the vice-presidential debates.
While the next five years of Indonesia’s future is yet to be defined; at this crucial moment we definitely don’t need people full of rhetoric, but lacking the integrity to put their plans into action.
Despite Boediono’s failure to live up to our expectations during the lecture, on behalf of the yellow jacket students I want to say thank you to Boediono, for his willingness to spare time from his busy schedule to speak to us. We all were grateful to have experienced such a rare
This is simply because we believe that actions speak louder than words: Boediono may not be the most inspiring speaker, but he gets the tough tasks done and inspires people through his hard-working attitude.
As he is now officially our Vice President and holds a more strategic role in the economy of Indonesia, we know that during the next five years of his term that we can expect many great improvements in our economy to come from his economics aptitude. This is more important than the sweet niceties that were frequently uttered by his rivals in the last presidential election.

Putera Satria Sambijantoro
The writer is a student
in University of Indonesia’s School
of Economics.
Opinion The Jakarta Post 22nd Oct 2009