Category Archives: politics

Wednesday, the 9th of July 2014

All of the Van den Brink family hopes to cheer and celebrate victories tomorrow. An essential one in Jakarta* and and the most important side matter in Sao Paulo. That is Jokowi’s win over Prabowo in Indonesia and the Dutch football squad’s win over Argentina in Brazil.

Last Saturday night my daughter in law Feby, my granddaughter Devica Esha and son Gunnar rehearsed for the events dressed in genuine Dutch colours already. Actually a pretty picture and a successful try out in my opinion:

Trio voor Oranje 5 juli 14.

To make the wished for outcome come true, voters in Indonesia and the referee in Sao Paulo have to make the right decisions. I trust our massive mental family support will help them doing just that ;-).

In the meantime I anxiously keep my fingers crossed.

* The advantage of this presidential campaign is that this time it’s a clear choice between the past and the future. One between a man who belongs to the Suharto era and is member of the old system and the old guys’ network on the one hand and the future, the new man on the block with good record, clean sheets and coming in from the outside, on the other. The problem is that bad boys ( be it Wilders, Bush or Prabowo) tend to have ( ample means, on the surface simple underbelly solutions and) a dark appeal to many voters. Therefore I sincerely hope – and trust – the people will make the most sensible choice for good governance and democracy, Jokowi (Though alas, Kalla, the man who in “The Act of Killing” is being exposed as supporter of a fascist youth organization, will be part of the package).

Well, till now, ever since Reformasi most of the time the Indonesian people made sensible political choices. So why not this time.

Keeping up appearances.


Seemingly Indonesian authorities are in the process of cleaning up public areas. A laudable case, isn’t it?

Surabayahas started the adventurous project process of closing down “Dolly”, one of the oldest and most renowned red light districts in South-East Asia. In other parts of the archipelago brothels disappear also. And Jakarta is getting rid of street vendors in top-end parts of the capital. Monas Park has been cleared already.

I wonder if those who are responsible really think they in this way offer a solution to the less well off. I can’t but thinking these are typical cases of sweeping dirt under the carpet.  Actually Mrs Bucket ( “Bouquet”), the leading character in “Keeping up appearances“, keeps popping up in my mind every time I read another one of these items on efforts to embellish urban imagos.

Jakarta is a metropolis

jakartanightlife 2 *

The “Stadium” has been the capital’s epicentre of sin for a long time. Officially these leisure time activities are outlawed in the predominant religious country, but unofficially they are part of a tradition, facilitated by a culture of corruption. Therefore and because of a growing and eager well off hedonistic middle class, expats, supplemented by abundant numbers of experimenting adolescents and students, it’s no wonder the club has been thriving.

We all know moderate and modest will do it, but too much is lethal. North Sulawesi’s policeman Jicky Vay Gumerung, didn’t stick to this rule of the thumb. Nor did Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, all members of the ‘club of twenty seven’, some forty years ago. Cause of death: Overdose.

The death of the police officer was a golden opportunity to act for a characteristically resolute governor. So it’s over now. Acting governor Ahok, in his energetic style, closed down “Stadium” immediately after the young cop died at the premises. The man in charge of the city has decided to join the “war on drugs”. Which world wide fight by the way over the years conspicuously has been lacking moderation and modesty unfortunately. Resulting in even deadlier results than drugs themselves do.

It’s a remarkable decision Ahok took. It’s a policy U-turn. And it’s not in line with the ambition of the Big Durian, the nickname, referring to the Big Apple. A name which indicates what it’s planning to become :). It strives to be an urban hotspot on the globe. That is with all the virtues and vices of it. Including every kind of entertainment most decent people and settled citizens tend to frown upon: prostitution, gambling, alcohol, partying, drugs.

The governor obviously loathes exploitation of women, drugs-abuse and ripping off people. And, most of all, breaking the law. Who doesn’t? Actually I have to admit I also instinctively – in spite of my occasional glass of wine-  tend to side by puritans and righteous ones in these matters.

Yet I doubt whether the governor’s decision is the right one. National, regional or local administrations trying to abolish vice in a big city, deny the realities of life. It’s administrative over-stretch. And it’s an invasion of people’s personal freedom.

I prefer pragmatism.

Don’t close down clubs, but curtail management, help involuntary sex workers to find an exit to other means of income, help drug addicts by health programs and apply a zero tolerance policy in relation to corruption. And keep on track turning Jakarta into an modern, innovative Asian version of Berlin ( for instance).

* This is not the “Stadium”.

Let’s move to Uruguay


Let’s move to Uruguay.  According to the Economist  it’s “the country of the year 2013″. And this year looks promising :).


Because José Mujica, the president -who by the way is one of my generation (72 y/o) – inspired two major decisions which – if all countries would join- would considerably improve the world.

One: Uruguay legalized same sex marriages last year and

two: Uruguay also legalized the growth, trade and use of marijuana in 2013.

Let’s not forget the man who pushed the modest South American state to the vanguard of guiding countries, José Mujica . Memorize this name. He’s the man who after election maintained his Spartan lifestyle. He’s the one whose social philosophy is congenial with the present Pope. And actually he shares his presidential revenues with the poor.

He, the atheist, deserves at least a similar publicity and popularity as the man in Rome.

I quote form the right wing magazine’s article:” the man at the top, President Mulica is admirably self-effacing. With unusual frankness for a politician, he referred to the new law as an experiment. He lives in a humble cottage, drives himself to work in a Volkswagen Beetle and flies economy class. Modest yet bold, liberal and fun-loving, Uruguay is our country of the year. ¡Felicitaciones!”.

I my opinion Uruguay, well at least it’s president, deserves it will win next year’s World Championship Football in Brazil. And wouldn’t it be nice if we could  be present to celebrate together their sporting success, their progressiveness and their  tolerance…After all Brazil is not the worst of all holiday destinations either :).