President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono of Indonesia has been under severe critics for the past week due to his controversial statement over the proposed bill on the special status of Yogyakarta Province. He made his statement at the opening of the cabinet meeting on November 26, and during his remarks he talked about the Yogyakarta Province that is currently under the administration of the local Sultan as governor. This practice shows the unique characteristics of Yogyakarta due to its close association with the monarchy and for honoring the previous Sultan for his decision to become part of the nation after the World War II. The current practice of appointing the Sultan as governor without election is yet to be reviewed and regulated; thus the proposed bill is currently being processed at the legislation. But the President, allegedly ignoring the history, commented that the “monarchy system” is against the Indonesian constitution and our democratic values.
As predicted, this statement sparked mass demonstration and critics and even escalated to demands of holding a referendum at the province. Some people also posted graphical images of “Ngayogyakarto Hadiningrat” passport (it is the Javanese name of the kingdom) on Facebook. After a few days of heated debates over the country, the President finally decided to make another speech yesterday afternoon to clarify the issues. The speech was made from the Presidential Palace and was televised. But public attention quickly switched to something else when the he started the speech. Take a look at this picture:
Yeap, the President (or his aides, apparently) put a white iPad on the podium while delivering his speech with the Apple logo clearly seen on top of the podium. Although it never became a main issue, the scene prompted gossipy citizens to tweet their opinions. Someone jokingly asked whether Apple CEO Steve Jobs paid the president for sporting the product or whether the iPad has been cleared by the customs after the newly imposed tax regulation which limits importing goods through the airport by imposing tax on goods worth more that US$ 250. A former journalist also tweeted, “Apple on Garuda (the nation’s coat of arms seen attached to the podium); such a careless communication approach.”
Apart from the good laugh that we had yesterday, it shows that whatever the President attempts to do to pose a good image will only be responded by mockery. OK, this may sound exaggerating, but with his popularity declining fast since the last election, every effort must be made to recover his image in front of the citizens. Whether or not it was an innocent gesture to sport an Apple iPad during his speech, he cannot afford to make another error to jeopardize his image. After all, image is the new politics, right? Right?! 😀
Oh and by the way, can anybody forward that picture to Steve Jobs? Who knows we might get a Christmas discount for giving him a free advertisement. LOL.
Image’s source: kompas.com