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Jakarta Post

Jokowi: Little Soeharto or ‘post-Java’ president?

  • Karina M. Tehusijarana
    Karina M. Tehusijarana

    The Jakarta Post

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Jakarta   /   Sat, July 27, 2019   /  09:48 am
The Jakarta Post Image
President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo during an interview with The Jakarta Post at the State Palace on June 11.(JP/Wienda Parwitasari)

President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s recent post of a Javanese saying raised questions on the role of Javanese philosophy in Jokowi's leadership style and policies coming into his second term, inviting comparisons to the quintessentially Javanese former president Soeharto. Last Saturday, Jokowi posted a video containing the Javanese phrase “laman sira sekti, aja mateni“ (even though you are powerful, do not knock down others), echoing a postelection television interview in which he cited the saying as one of his key philosophies. All seven of Indonesia’s presidents have been ethnically Javanese and thus influenced by Javanese culture to various extents, but none more so than Soeharto, who even published a collection of his Javanese philosophies entitled Butir-Butir Budaya Jawa (The Grains of Javanese Culture). While Jokowi, a native of Su...