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Jakarta Post

Youth Pledge celebrations filled with politicians telling 'youths' what to do

  • Karina M. Tehusijarana

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Mon, October 29, 2018   /   08:52 am
Youth Pledge celebrations filled with politicians telling 'youths' what to do Children visit Youth Pledge Museum at Jl. Kramat Raya No. 106 in Jakarta on Sunday. Indonesia commemorates Oct. 28 as Youth Pledge Day. (Antara/Indrianto Eko Suwarso)

In commemorating the 90th anniversary of the Youth Pledge, politicians seemed full of ideas about what youths, soon to be the largest part of the electorate, should do.

"Youths" and "millennials" are the holy grail of Indonesian politics -- Statistics Indonesia (BPS) data suggests that more than 80 million people between the ages of 20 and 39 will be eligible to vote next year, making up nearly half of the electorate, putting the generation at the top of every political party’s target demographic list. 

President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo went the traditional route of asking today's youths to "bring Indonesia forward" and emulate those of 1928, who sparked the movement that eventually brought about independence.

Jokowi's challenger in the presidential race, Prabowo Subianto, called on youths to maintain their "idealism, nationalism, patriotism and leadership", adding that the younger generations were the nation's engines of change.

Despite pushing 50, Prabowo's running mate Sandiaga Uno seemed to consider himself one of the nebulous "youths" and used his message to reinforce the Prabowo-Sandiaga campaign theme of "justice and prosperity".

"It is time for us as the young generation to move and contribute to creating a just and prosperous nation," he tweeted.

Democratic Party executive Agus Harimurti Yudhoyono, meanwhile, used Youth Pledge Day as an opportunity to end his lengthy Twitter hiatus and provide youths with encouragement.

"Sometimes we are on top, and sometimes we are on the bottom of the wheel of life. What's certain is that every struggle is filled with challenges. Young people have to be ready and confident in working toward their goals," he tweeted, having experienced some political ups and downs himself in the past few years, from a failed bid for the Jakarta governorship to an attempt to become Prabowo's running mate. He ended his tweet with "Happy Youth Pledge Day!" and inserting hashtags saying #Don'tGiveUp, #IHaveToBelieve and #JustBeConfident.