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Jakarta Post

New Order? New normal? New despotism!

Law and disorder: A protester runs toward police officers who stand guard on motorcycles during a clash in Jakarta on Oct. 13, 2020. A series of demonstrations took place across the country following the House of Representatives’ passage of the job creation bill into law. (JP/Seto Wardhana)
Julia Suryakusuma
Jakarta   ●   Wed, February 17 2021

What do you associate the word “new” with? Usually pretty positive feelings, right? Enjoying new clothes or shoes, excitement over a new car, or feeling good when you make a nice new friend. How about a new president? Immense relief that his name is Joe Biden!

And of course, “new normal” has become part of our daily lexicon since the coronavirus pandemic, along with work from home (WFH), online schooling, social distancing, wearing masks and frequent handwashing. However, most people aren’t feeling so positive toward this new way of life, with feelings ranging from acceptance to resignation, to frustration, anxiety, depression and severe mental stress.

What if the word “new” is applied to a political system? Well, those of us who lived 32 years under the repressive New Order regime (1966-1998) are wary of the word “ne...

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