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Jakarta Post

Public intellectuals or policy architects?

  • Pierre Marthinus

Jakarta   /   Thu, July 15 2010   /  10:29 am

Benedict Anderson, one of the world’s best-known US intellectuals, recently lamented the lack of Indonesian academics courting public opinion and their failure in seriously challenging anything through social-political criticism (Bangkok Post, June 28). This seems to be the case not only in Indonesia, but throughout Southeast Asia, where notable critics, such as Sulak Sivaraksa in Thailand, Renato Constantino in the Philippines, and the late Pramoedya Ananta Toer in Indonesia are left without successors.Anderson’s latest criticism of Indonesian academic intellectuals was spot on, deserves consideration and should not be taken lightly.Culturally, we need to admit that most of Indonesia’s top public universities are still plagued by “old-school” traditions of state-owned bureaucracy. In contrast to most US private universities, our hidden curriculum is geared to produce problem s...