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Jakarta Post

Independence for whom?

Jakarta   /   Sat, October 1 2016   /  09:14 am

As is their wont, the media reported on the joyous celebrations of the 71st anniversary of Indonesian independence all the way from the village head’s office to the State Palace. There was no lack of ingratiating columnists expounding all of the “accomplishments” of successive administrations.

So overwhelming was the joy that it left no place in our thoughts for the millions of Indonesians mired in poverty. We conveniently forgot that by international standards, almost half of our brethren are still classified as poor.

Most disturbing was the “guesstimate” of our foremost experts that at least 3 million families had never been independent all these years. Why a guesstimate and not an actual head count? It is because inter-generational transmission of poverty simply doesn’t exist in our lexicon?

It has never been officially recognized, let alone studied i...