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Part 1 – Introduction 1

1 Introduction 2 1.1 Water and wastewater in Indonesia 2 1.2 The big picture 2 1.3 Methods 3

2 Background 6 2.1 Introduction 6 2.2 Poverty 6 2.3 Urbanisation and water resources management 7 2.4 Conclusion 8

Part 2 – HISTORY of the Indonesian archipelago 9

3 Eras and Events 10 3.1 Early history 10 3.2 The Early Kingdoms 10 3.3 The Portuguese – culture clash 11 3.4 The Dutch East Indies: trade and colonialism 12 3.5 The English 13 3.6 Japanese occupation, 1942-45 13 3.7 Coming of age: Independent Indonesia 14 3.8 Suharto ’s New Order - the present government 15

4 Aspects of Development 17 4.1 Introduction - Pressure to develop 17 4.2 Development of Leadership 17 4.3 The politics of development 19 4.4 Technology 23 4.5 Summary 25

"' Part 3 – CULTURE AND its impact on DEVELOPMENT 28

5 Introduction to culture – influences and symbols 29 5.1 Soft and Hard technologies - people and technical issues 29 5.2 Introduction 29 5.3 Major influences 30 5.4 Symbols and themes 30 5.5 Insights from language 31 5.6 Introduction to the Hofstede dimensions 31

6 Collectivism – mutual cooperation and Gotong-royong 33 6.1 The pre-eminence of relationship over task 33 6.2 Conformity 34 6.3 Social dynamics 36 6.4 Change 36

7 The Nature of Power, authority and respect 38 7.1 Introduction – Power Distance 38 7.2 Origins/history 38 7.3 The nature of power - Conceptual/worldview 39 7.4 Maintaining the social distance 40 7.5 Modern politics 41 7.6 Inter-ethnic Variation and Trends 41 7.7 Conclusion 42

8 Femininity – Humility and the exercise of power 43 8.1 Introduction 43 8.2 Being halus 43 8.3 Ngelmu and cerdik - Wisdom & knowledge in Javanese Thought 44 8.4 Cerdik – Cunning defeats the brute 45 8.5 Harmony 46 8.6 Externality – more than meets the eye 48 8.7 Ethnic Variation 48 8.8 Summary and Implications 49

9 Uncertainty Avoidance - flexibility and procedures 50 9.1 Introduction 50 9.2 Origins – the ‘government of man’ 50 9.3 “Rubber time” - flexibility 50 9.4 Synthesis - fundamental to the Indonesian culture 51 9.5 Procedural Emphasis – the effect of security concerns 53 9.6 Discussion and Conclusions 54

10 “Yes, Father” - Organisational culture in Indonesia 55 10.1 Introduction 55 10.2 Paternalism - Cultural Models of Management 56 10.3 Leadership, business and admin skills 58 10.4 Diplomacy and personal contacts 60 10.5 Corruption 60 10.6 Changes in organisational culture 62


11 Water, industrial wastewater and sanitation - the context 64 11.1 Introduction 64 11.2 Domestic water practices 65 11.3 General resources – land, labour and capital 67 11.4 Wastewater 68 11.5 Water sources 69 11.6 Legislative setting 70 11.7 Challenges 71 Part 5 – Implications 73

12 Possibilities in Water and Wastewater Development 74 12.1 Introduction 74 12.2 Soft Technology 74 12.3 Hard Technology 77 12.4 Planning 77 12.5 (Roles) (what is needed? And who can help with it?) 80 12.6 (Cooperation and roles) – who is there? 80 12.7 Other Cultural factors 83 Done to here, 30/4/97 84 12.8 Other 84 13 Conclusions 85 13.1 Epilogue 85

Appendix A - Uncertainty Avoidance – High or Low? 87 13.2 Low 87 13.3 High 88 13.4 Conclusion 88

Appendix B - Education –developing the future. 89

Introduction	89
History of Education	89
Education and Culture 	90
A developmental force	91
Effects	92
Studying overseas	93
Conclusions	93

Appendix C – Poverty indicators 94

Bibliography 96

Interviews	102

Part 1 – Introduction[edit | edit source]

‘(A)nthropological studies are relevant not simply to an underbudgeted, relief-oriented “community development program,” but to the whole range of developmental issues   for they describe the dimensions of the sociocultural world within which these issues take on a determinate and hence resolvable form.’

Introduction[edit | edit source]

Water and wastewater in Indonesia[edit | edit source]

The key problems facing Indonesia are insufficient water, use of dirty water, pollution through industry and sanitation, and relative poverty, which prevents standard Western solutions. Given the huge task of supplying Indonesia’s 200 million people with water and sanitation, and its industries with wastewater treatment, it is worth a thorough examination.

The big picture[edit | edit source]

Two key aspects of water and wastewater management.[edit | edit source]

This thesis assumes the position that water and wastewater management in Indonesia is and will be influenced by technological and engineering issues, physical characteristics of the water and economic issues. That should not be a matter of controversy, but it will be more amply demonstrated in the course of this work. The second major proposition is that the cultural and demographic context of Indonesia influences water and wastewater management. Whilst this cannot be adequately demonstrated here, it will be thoroughly examined during the course of this work. The technical issues must not be neglected. Ultimately there must be a hardware application – pipes must be laid and treatment plants must be designed and built. However, this ought not to be done without accounting for the context, including not only water characteristics and their impact on treatment processes, (discussed in Part 4) but also cultural aspects related to management and development, (discussed in parts 2 and 3).

Basic questions[edit | edit source]

There are many questions and many details that can be examined in relation to water and wastewater management in Indonesia. Technology to deal with the water conditions and methods of institutional reform in the water industry are two among many. However, examining the literature and speaking to people in the field reveals that different people are asking different questions and giving different answers. Some are emphasising the importance of community involvement in water resource management, some emphasise the importance of proper use of financial resources, while others appear to have not asked any questions at all, but simply sought to apply Western techniques to an Indonesian problem. There is value (to varying degrees) in all of these approaches, but the heterogeneity leads us to ask: What are the important questions? Examining the big picture is a necessary first step. We will start from the perspective that we are concerned for Indonesia’s interests, and desire to see an improvement in water and wastewater management for the sake of public health and standard of living. The background against which culture, development and water issues will be examined can be described with the following questions:

  1. What are the current deficiencies in water supply and wastewater management?
  2. What are the root causes of these deficiencies?
  3. How can these deficiencies be overcome?
  4. Who can play a beneficial role in Indonesia’s development of its water management?

This will obviously be different to assessing Indonesia as a potential market for consultancy firms and water treatment equipment, but it will have implications for that as well. Until we start to answer these ‘big picture’ questions, we cannot begin establish what are the relevant and most pressing questions on a more detailed level.

Methods[edit | edit source]

The method must be descriptive in order to be prescriptive. The complexity of the big picture view will lead to making some connections and conclusions. We will attempt to paint to paint the big picture, in its complexity, and then begin to make some connections and conclusions. Because of the size of the task, this can only be a preliminary rather than an exhaustive task. Nonetheless, it will allow some important conclusions to be drawn. This is achieved by integrating material from a broad range of sources (particularly history), where seemingly incidental facts take their place in building a comprehensive understanding of the issues facing water management. An holistic approach requires the inclusion of related non-water factors. The focus is on the choice, application and management of technology rather than a detailed examination of the technology itself. Cultural material is much less quantitative than empirical engineering research. The conclusions and suggestions require creativity as well as analysis, but reasoning has been shown as clearly as possible. The result is that this is an unusual engineering thesis – for example, one insightful source of information was a student of Indonesian literature, doing a PhD at the University of Sydney.

Scope – Javanese focus[edit | edit source]

The Javanese language is ‘spoken as a native language by more than 68 million persons living primarily on the island of Java.’ That is, Javanese make up around 35% of the Indonesian population, the largest ethnic group, and the most influential. Decision making in Indonesia is dominated by the Javanese beyond the extent suggested by their proportion of the population. Their cultural norms have had a broad influence on the nation through their control of government and institutions. It is also the case that the most complete historical records deal with Java, and modern writing follows the same pattern of focusing on the Javanese. This study focuses on the Javanese culture due to its dominance and the practical impossibility of considering all cultures exhaustively. Major differences with other ethnic groups are touched on, but as there are so many ethnic groups, more focused studies would be appropriate if considering a particular location. The most ready application of much of our conclusions will be to areas with a strong Javanese presence, but the influence of Javanese culture over Indonesia as a whole means that conclusions will have varying degrees of applicability elsewhere. Distinguishing between points about ‘Indonesian culture’ and ‘Javanese culture’ has been impossible due to the fluid relationship between the two, and to clearly demarcate them would be artificial and simplistic. In general I have used ‘Indonesian’ to denote those characteristics which are generally true of broader Indonesian society, although they may sometimes be more applicable to the Javanese culture than to others.

Literature[edit | edit source]

For all aspects of the research, my interviews with engineers, academics (in the fields of engineering, law and Indonesian literature) and other Indonesian nationals (including from regions outside Java) provided valuable information and helped to resolve uncertainties. Apart from that, my major sources of information for this work have been as follows:

  • History: Spruyt and Robertson (1973) gives a good brief overview of history but Zainu’ddin’s work (1968) gives more of an examination of the meaning behind the events.
  • Culture: Hofstede’s work (1991) describes culture in terms of four key dimensions, and helps to make sense of the difference between Indonesian culture and others, including Australian culture. Specifically on Indonesian culture, Geertz (1963) studies leadership and development in the particular context of two towns; Legge (1964) discusses culture and history; Kartodirdjo (1984) and Takdir (1961), both Indonesian, give an inside perspective on cultural practices; Anderson (1990) has written an insightful work on the Javanese language and view of power. The authors of major cultural sources are thus by Dutch (Hofstede and Geertz), Australian (Legge), Indonesian (Kartodirdjo and Takdir) and British (Anderson) authors, helping to give a balanced perspective.
  • Economics: Earl (1994) discusses the business and economic environment and Price Waterhouse (1996) gives more of the details needed for business, regarding export and import laws and foreign ownership.
  • Water and wastewater: Porter (1996) discusses the economics of water and waste in Jakarta
  • Domestic water practices: Much of this information comes from my own experience of three months in Surabaya (East Java, the second largest city in Indonesia) with a number of trips to other regions of Java, Madura and Bali. During this time, I lived with a Javanese family in a kampung area, which reflects the most common living situation for urban Indonesians. This has been confirmed and supplemented through statistics and interviews with Indonesians.

Lack of integrating material[edit | edit source]

The first surprise facing us is that little material has been prepared that crosses the borders that separate cultural, demographic, economic and engineering issues. In particular, work attempting to integrate socio-cultural issues and development, particularly in reference to water and wastewater treatment, is virtually non-existent. Works with a business focus, including Price Waterhouse, typically include a page or two of cultural tips, such as 'meetings often start late', and 'do not point with the left hand'. While this is helpful etiquette, this remains at the most superficial level of communication and understanding. Forest et al is one example of poor foreign understanding of Indonesia from a business perspective. It gives a good summary of Indonesian history, but lacks direction and gives facts without application. They also give over-generalisations about culture, such as ‘Indonesians stand in a humble stance with the head bowed and hands clasped in front’ and the astounding false statement ‘most Indonesians use some form of air-conditioning.’ Fears are raised of Islamic fundamentalism with no discussion of the nature of Islam in Indonesia. Such statements appear to reflect the observations of foreign business people who have minimum involvement with Indonesians, or Western based writers drawing uncritically from the works of others. There is value in such works, but they must be sifted and compared carefully, and compared in particular with field research. There is a great need to map the terrain on which issues of water and development lie. I have found no work which approaches Indonesian culture in the systematic and comprehensive way I have attempted. (This is not to downgrade the aforementioned works – I am dependent on them, and do not put myself on the same level as Zainu’ddin, Legge, or others.) Much of the material is relevant more widely than water and wastewater management. The result is a work with two levels – broad developmental issues, and more specific water management issues.

Warnings[edit | edit source]

In studying national culture, we note Hofstede’s warnings that such study should be:

  • descriptive and not judgmental (lest it give more information about the observer than the observed.)
  • Verifiable from more than one independent source (especially given the “soft” nature of the data)
  • Should apply to a statistical majority of the population
  • Discriminating- indicating what applies to this population but not to others.

There is also the danger of creating stereotypes - I will describe general cultural patterns, and cannot create a precise profile of an individual Indonesian. Noting these warnings, it is important to firstly observe the variation of cultures within Indonesia - indicated by the existence of many local languages and ethnic groups (commonly estimated at 300) and the national motto of ‘Unity in Diversity’ . It is clearly impossible to deal with all of these cultures. (To even attempt to do so would be such a massive task as to render any conclusions unintelligible, if any were reached).

Response[edit | edit source]

The conclusions of this thesis will include a call for a response, which begs the question – ‘by whom?’ Part of the method, then, will be to examine various bodies (organisation, business, community, government or other, both indigenous and foreign) and to ask what part they can best play in water and wastewater development.

Background[edit | edit source]

Imagine visiting a kampung (typical lower-class residential area) in an Indonesian city. Away from the wealth, development and new cars of the city centre is the sprawl of low-level buildings that makes up most of the city. You are on a dirt road lined with tightly packed houses and open drains on the side. When you see chickens pecking around in the drains and garbage you think back to the chicken curry you were given for breakfast. Occasionally there is the smell of cooking, the aroma of food fried in coconut oil; occasionally you smell the drains. You take another narrow alley, perhaps a metre wide. This one is concrete paved and twists between houses. These are even smaller houses than those on the dirt road. You wonder how people live with no privacy, and perform hygenic functions and dispose of toilet and other household waste in such basic conditions.

Introduction[edit | edit source]

Indonesia is the fourth most populous nation on earth, with 200 million people. Population density is extremely high, placing a huge demand on resources. This is especially so on Java, the most densely populated island in the world (excluding small city islands such as Hong Kong, Singapore and Macau). Yet Java still has a high agricultural production, placing limits on the ability of cities to spread. It carries almost 60% of the population in around 6% of the land area. Two key aspects of the Indonesian context are poverty and urbanisation. Indonesia faces typical challenges of environment versus wealth for a developing country in a period of high growth and industrialisation. We will now look at the problems in more detail.

Poverty[edit | edit source]

Has serious consequences[edit | edit source]

Poverty is a global problem: Housing shortages and poor housing conditions — the results of massive urbanization — are life-threatening. Sub-standard housing, unsafe water and poor sanitation in densely populated cities are responsible for 10 million deaths worldwide every year, and are a major factor in preventable environmental hazards, which are responsible for 25 percent of all premature deaths worldwide. Waterborne diseases alone kill 4 million infants and children annually. Most of the Indonesian city populations live in kampung areas and thus suffer from correspondingly poor water and sanitation facilities. The much lower income of Indonesia, relative to the developed nations, means that there is less available finance for infrastructure, including water and wastewater management. Therefore it is not usually possible to implement the same solutions as used in wealthier nations.

Severe, but improving[edit | edit source]

Between 1970 and 1990, Indonesia had the greatest annual reduction of poverty among countries studied by the World Bank. The following official national poverty estimates indicate the trends: Year 1970 1984 1987 1990 1993 Percentage of population under the poverty line Almost 60 21.6 17.4 15.1 13.7

Year 1970 1984 1987 1990 1993
Percentage of population under the poverty line Almost 60 21.6 17.4 15.1 13.7

These official figures of decreasing poverty are supported (for urban areas) by visible changes in housing and ownership of televisions and vehicles. Despite statistics showing decreasing poverty levels, there are still many poor living in Jakarta and other Indonesian cities without adequate water and sanitation facilities. There is still enough of a shortage of wealth that it would be a long time before full Western-style water and sanitation services would be feasible, even considering just the basic economic issues and ignoring issues of context.

Urbanisation and water resources management[edit | edit source]

Indonesian cities are characterised by very high urban population densities, small houses jammed against each other, and several residents to a room. As they grow rapidly, water supply and sanitation problems are exacerbated by the increasing localised pressure on water resources. There are many advantages to cities: (potentially) cheaper provision of services (including water, waste collection/disposal and education, although education is the one most often achieved), the possibility of emergency services, and greater opportunity for the exchange of ideas. The influx of rural dwellers to the cities, and the fact that people stay as well as arrive, suggests that cities are widely perceived as places, if not of affluence and opportunity, then at least of more tolerable conditions. Cities will continue to grow, and kampungs (and shantytowns) will not disappear, although they may change form. Increased localised pressure will be placed on water resources. Thus, in dealing with the issue of water and wastewater, it is important to pay particular attention to their application in an urban setting. As the Indonesian government attempts to deal with these problems, many foreign governments, businesses and NGOs are also involved. Foreign response has often lacked an appreciation of the urban Indonesian context, resulting in ineffective project implementation, as will be further demonstrated in Chapter 4 below.

Conclusion[edit | edit source]

The approach described, of soft data, cultural considerations and value judgements, is an uncertain world for engineers, but it is the real world, which we must deal with. In this scheme, much importance is attached to estimations and judgments where little data is available (or at times even possible). Nonetheless this is essential to gain a deeper understanding of the context in which the management of a precious resource takes place.

Part 2 – HISTORY of the Indonesian archipelago[edit | edit source]

‘There is no leadership. Foreigners of all political shades have left us the crumbs of the riches they have taken away.’

Indonesia, at the centre of important trade routes. Its history has been affected by international influences.

Eras and Events[edit | edit source]

To understand Indonesian culture fully, we must understand its history. History can be written from various perspectives, as can be seen by examining various books on history. The perspective in these chapters is the history of development, and key cultural insights which impact on development, and while the history given is reasonably comprehensive, that is not the main aim and there will be events neglected because of lack of relevance. If at times we appear to range from the topic, that is a consequence of adopting the aim of painting the big picture, at least in respect to development. The interconnectedness requires us to be broad in our search. Conclusions may not follow so readily or clearly from history as from as a table of data or set of graphs, but this should not discourage us from seeking what may be found. With a little patience, history offers its own insights. In this chapter, we will discuss major events and basic circumstances of the kingdom, colonial and independent eras. Chapter 4 considers the history of development and the role of key social groups in Indonesia’s history, some preliminary notes on their implications, to be taken up later in the discussion of culture.

Early history[edit | edit source]

Indonesia is situated on the sea trading route between India and Arabia to the north-west, and China and Japan to the north. Ancient Indonesia was itself rich in spices, timber and resins, including products that were available nowhere else. Thus by the first centuries AD, the Indonesian archipelago was involved in overseas trade, probably including East Africa. The region’s importance is shown by the fact that by the 18th century, Malay (a language of the Malay peninsula and parts of Sumatra) had become a trading language used from Persia to the Philippines. Indian cultural influence was significant. Hinduism and Buddhism were dominant in Indonesia for centuries (from perhaps the 1st century until the 15th), although indigenised, mixed with older animist beliefs. The rule of the god-king prepares us for one of the major cultural themes, the view of power and authority. Contact with China was based on trade, but nonetheless was significant as some Chinese settled in Indonesia over the centuries.

The Early Kingdoms[edit | edit source]

Indonesian traders in the 5th and 6th centuries appear to have exploited the opportunity in trade when southern China was cut off from the ancient Central Asian trade route, the source of prosperity aiding the rise of small estuary kingdoms. From the earliest times, the fate of Indonesians was inextricably linked to international affairs. Territories were usually not large, unlike the Chinese empires, partly through geographical barriers – ‘each leader saw himself at the centre of the world that mattered to him, which was not, until later, the archipelago or even a single island but his own strip of coast or river valley.’ {post thesis add’n: in Mataram Java, rudimentary transport, short rivers linked only by the Java Sea, ‘only in a very limited sense was there a Javanese economy at all… Individual priyayi had what might be called private economies of their own, each on e taking care of his economic needs himself through his own channels… All these local and private economices were only very loosely and precariously associated in a kingdomwide economy.’ (Chandler et al, 1987, In Search of Southeast Asia – A Modern History. p88) With the notable exceptions of Sriwijaya (centred in Sumatra, 600-1378 AD) and Majapahit (centred in eastern Java, 1294-1478) there were few great kingdoms. In terms of influence in modern Indonesian thought, their legend is as significant as history. Majapahit, in particular, has been seen by nationalists as a Golden Age. [Ratu Adil]. Even during the periods of foreign influence by colonial powers, the kingdoms were the overarching social structure. The social structures were preserved, deliberately allowed by the Dutch even as the power of the kings was taken away, but used to Dutch ends. From the 15th century, Islam spread through the archipelago, partly in reaction against the anti-Islamic Portuguese. Melaka on the Malay peninsula became Islamic in 1409. As it rapidly became an important trade centre, trade wealth spread to the coastal kingdoms of Java, and by 1450 the inland rice-based kingdom of Majapahit was losing power, the end of Hindu-Buddhist dominance in Indonesia.

The Portuguese – culture clash[edit | edit source]

A Portuguese explorer, en route to Indonesia in 1498, stopped by Calicut in south-western India and received the first greeting of an Eastern ruler to a European sailor: “May the devil take you. What brought you here?” Their reception in Indonesia was much the same. The Portuguese hated Islam, and after some overtures toward friendly trade, sought to secure a monopoly on trade in the East, using their superior military might where necessary. The Portuguese, as the first Europeans in the region, faced huge cultural barriers that they were not prepared for. On one occasion, great offence was unintentionally caused to a powerful Sultan when they brought an extremely valuable tapestry depicting their royal family, not realising the connotations of spiritual power in such portraits. Instead of bestowing honour, they brought fear and offence. Prospects of trade there were destroyed. Trade was established elsewhere in the archipelago, but tension rose over the ensuing years. Sultan Harun of Ternate in the 16th century received reports from other islands telling of the cruelty of the Portuguese. Eventually, he gained the support of other rulers, and gained advantage over the Portuguese with his skill and knowledge of Eastern customs, opposing them secretly while offering them support to their face. Harun won the fight by avoiding full confrontation. The Portuguese were unaware of the complex developments, and matched his cunning with their own tactical blunders. When they later killed the Sultan, breaking a newly sworn oath, opposition was inflamed further. After a long struggle (c 1565-85) the Portuguese were defeated. The Portuguese thenceforth had relatively little involvement in the archipelago. Their lack of success in Indonesia came from a number of factors: they were known as hostile to Islam and supported non-Islamic rulers; they had contempt for Eastern rulers, rejecting traditional Eastern bargaining and demanding trade monopolies; they were perceived as arrogant in their dealings; they attempted to undermine rulers by trickery and establishing alien communities. For obvious reasons, European motives came to be mistrusted.

The Dutch East Indies: trade and colonialism[edit | edit source]

The Dutch were present in West Java from the beginning of the 17th century. They began to establish trade relationships, determined to avoid the errors of the Portuguese. They exercised honesty in their dealings (initially, at least) and showed respect to the customs and beliefs of the Indonesian rulers. They even learnt from the Portuguese experience and used portraits as a stand-in royal family (although no doubt keeping at an appropriate distance to avoid the panic that met the Portuguese. Thus they had more success, even receiving spice rights in 1607 from the sultanate Borneo where the Portuguese experienced an early conflict. They did experience conflict in time, however, for although their methods were less offensive than the Portuguese, their intentions were much the same and they became more heavy-handed and less honest as they gained control. Revolts occurred, but were suppressed. Control of the Dutch East Indies (the part of Indonesia under Dutch control) was very lucrative to the Netherlands. Spices, coffee, tea and sugar were grown in order to be sent to Europe, and the financial benefits aided Dutch industrialisation. Due to a deliberate aim of maintaining the monopoly on trade, the Dutch discouraged entrepreneurship among the indigenous population. Chinese and the regents were used as middlemen. Indigenous people were employed in lower level bureaucratic and business administration jobs, however. This is further discussed in Chapter 4. As well as having learnt from the Portuguese mistakes in cross-cultural diplomacy, the Dutch had better financial backing than the Portuguese, and naval supremacy over the Portuguese and indigenous forces, and also joined together to form a centralised, monopolistic trading system. The Dutch presence began around 1600 AD, but Dutch domination of Java was not achieved until 1830, compared to 1870 for the outer islands, with the creation of a single colony not complete until around 1914. Java, then, the centre of the Dutch occupation, has had by far the longest history of direct Dutch control – 112 years, compared with 28 to 72 years for other regions. Their influence began earlier of course – it can be said that 350 years passed between Javanese rulers who had real independence.

The English[edit | edit source]

The English also had a presence in the East Indies, especially during 1811-15, when it ruled in place of the Netherlands. At other times they controlled ports in Java. Local rulers sometimes preferred the English to the Dutch, and sometimes worked with the Indonesian rulers rather than fighting them . In the 17th century a court official in Sulawesi perceived the English as sharp-minded, gentlemanly and honest, in spite of being ‘overbearing infidels’. The only Englishman to govern Java – Raffles, (1811-15) – had a respect for and interest in Javanese culture, but his time in office was too short for his reforms to have their full effect. The English were not pure, of course – there are also reports of gross corruption, and their primary aims were no different from those other colonising powers. Reasons for their greater honesty may be similar to the diplomatic aims of the Dutch when first trying to gain a foothold. Whatever the reason, it is worth noting the Indonesian perceptions.

Japanese occupation, 1942-45[edit | edit source]

Indonesia’s rich oil and mineral reserves made it attractive to Japan, especially in wartime. The Indonesians already new Japanese through trade beginning in the first part of the 20th century, and had a positive impression of them, as more refined than other foreigners. When they invaded in 1942, they were widely seen as liberators. The Dutch had also not allowed the Indonesian people to prepare to defend themselves against the Japanese, fearing (no doubt correctly) that such ability would be used against their masters. As Indonesia realised the nature of Japanese rule, that this was not liberation, they resented the failure of the Dutch to defend them, adding to the desire for freedom. The Japanese occupation during World War 2 was a terrible period, but it did bring certain strategic advantages. The Japanese were busy fighting a war and couldn’t give full attention to running Indonesia themselves, but needed the people’s cooperation. When Indonesians failed to be enthusiastic about the Japanese empire, a certain amount of nationalism was allowed to facilitate Japanese ends. Indonesians had to take more responsibility for themselves – and found that they were able to do so. The realisation of their own competence was a significant step for nationalism. Indonesians were even given limited military training. By use of cunning and subterfuge, the nationalist leaders managed to create the appearance of working with their new masters, while actually creating a resistance movement, and preparing to fight against them and/or the Dutch. Radio and the wayang (the traditional shadow puppet play) gave political messages to the people that were not understood by the Japanese, due to their generally limited understanding of the language and the typically Indonesian indirectness of the message. Thus, the Japanese occupation prepared Indonesia to fight for independence, and to run their own country.

Coming of age: Independent Indonesia[edit | edit source]

The fight for independence[edit | edit source]

Thomas Raffles noted in the early 19th century, ‘ever since the arrival of the Europeans (the Javanese) have neglected no opportunity of attempting to regain their independence’ Pockets of resistance to Dutch rule had continued throughout the history of the colony. Increased contact with outside world raised expectations. With the preparation afforded by the circumstances of the Japanese occupation, and having seized some of the Japanese weaponry, Indonesian nationalists in at the end of the war in 1945 declared independence, and were ready to fight. Unlike earlier struggles, the world now had information about Indonesian affairs during the 1945-49 fight for independence, and pressure was brought on the Dutch government internationally. A major change since the time of colonisation was the beginning of globalisation and the revolution in communication. There was protest within the Netherlands, and even non-cooperation by members of its own armed forces. The United Nations placed pressure on the Dutch. The Dutch finally acknowledged Indonesian independence in 1949. To obtain this recognition, the Republican government accepted the formation of a Federal Republic of Indonesia, although they never intended to retain such a form, and sought to change to a single state republic, achieved in 1950.

Under ‘brother’ Sukarno[edit | edit source]

‘Sukarno can be seen as the first Javanese ruler in almost 350 years to have some real independence.’ A multi-party liberal democracy, similar to that in most Western countries, failed to give stability in Indonesia, although it may have had desirable features. The parties elected to power in the first elections of 1955 were too absorbed in political survival to deal effectively with administration and government. Sukarno sought to introduce a scheme based on traditional village government processes, to be known as Guided Democracy, with strong leadership combined with consensus. Guided Democracy began to take shape, culminating in 1959 with a change of constitution, giving more power to the President. Although an impressive attempt at integrating Indonesian and Western thinking, it was not the panacea of all of Indonesia’s woes. Even the eloquent and charismatic Sukarno could not distract attention from the increasing social and ideological divisions and poor economic management, and he was eventually replaced by Suharto .

Coup[edit | edit source]

[It is of interest in relation to the 1965 coup that] the most loved part of Javanese mythology was an indigenized version of the Mahabharata [the ancient Indian epic], which culminates in an orgy of bloodshed between close kinsmen. Still, it felt like discovering that a loved one is a murderer. The only change of government in the history of independent Indonesia occurred with major upheaval and bloodshed. The events surrounding the 1965 coup are not entirely clear, and opinions vary. It is very significant in world history, yet difficult to assess and explain. Probably 300,000-400,000 people were killed in a purge of the communist party. Unlike Germany after the atrocities of World War 2, there appears to have been little soul-searching for the reasons for these terrible events – this is partly because the rest of the world did not criticise the events in the Indonesian case (Time magazine declared it ‘The West’s best news for years in Asia’. ) In Schwarz’s words, ‘No one knows exactly why the beast emerged and the possibility of its return has inculcated in the New Order regime a deep streak of political caution.’ Development has taken place in this security conscious climate.

Suharto ’s New Order - the present government[edit | edit source]

Sukarno’s replacement in 1966 by Suharto marked a major change for Indonesia. Where Sukarno had sought to work with parties across the political spectrum, Suharto ’s government purged and outlawed communists. Where Sukarno told the USA to ‘go to hell with your aid,’ Suharto has encouraged foreign aid and investment. Where Sukarno’s leadership was one of traditional Javanese values and charisma, Suharto’s is quiet - by his own confession he is not a gifted orator like Sukarno. And where the economy stagnated under Sukarno, the economy under Suharto has grown rapidly. Compare Sukarno, who paid little attention to economists, being more interested in politics. Suharto, in contrast, has been heavily dependent on technocrats (described immediately below).

Economics by economists[edit | edit source]

In 1963, three years before Suharto came to power, Geertz wrote that a Western educated elite may be necessary because ‘The entire momentum necessary for a transition to sustained growth is not likely to come “from below” ’. He was correct - it was Suharto’s team of technocrats, a new educated elite, that brought about economic success. Under Suharto holders of academic degrees gained greater power and authority, taking a large share in deciding the allocation of the nation’s scarce resources. These technocrats took the role of controlling the economy. Their management ability was demonstrated in 1982, when growth slowed due to a petroleum price drop, and the ever-pragmatic Indonesian Government was willing and able to shift gears and adopt painful economic reforms. Indonesia reduced its over-reliance on oil, and growth returned to 5 to 7%.

Strong interventionist government.[edit | edit source]

One thing that didn’t change was the perceived need for strong leadership. Concern for security is one of the most notable features of the Suharto government. For partly this reason Indonesia has experienced around thirty years of relative peace, but this has not allowed an increase in openness of media.

Aspects of Development[edit | edit source]

Introduction - Pressure to develop[edit | edit source]

In this chapter we will chart Indonesian development on five levels:

  • The development of leadership
  • Development under the Dutch
  • Development under Suharto
  • Foreign involvement in Indonesia today and
  • Technology.

Understanding the reasons for the current state of development – in leadership and in technology – is necessary preparation for understanding the true state of development in Indonesia today, and its future direction The population in Java has grown rapidly since the beginning of the 19th century, placing huge demands on the environment and resources.

Development of Leadership[edit | edit source]

One of the key themes in this work is the importance of leadership in Indonesia’s history. Major influences include the Dutch appropriation of social structures, and the education of a small but significant portion of the population. As is noted above, (Chapter 3) there were Indonesian traders in the first centuries AD. By the time of the arrival of Europeans, there was a thriving trade in the archipelago. However, the Europeans wrested this from indigenous traders, taking away their trading role.

The Aristocratic Elite – Progress and Resentment[edit | edit source]

The aristocratic elite made up 2% of the Indonesian population. The priyayi of Javanese culture are primarily the descendants of the aristocracy of the Hindu-Buddhist Javanese courts of central Java, later used by the Dutch in the colonial civil service. They have a strong and influential culture, which will be discussed in Chapter 8 and have maintained some level of influence until today. However, people can now gain power through education as well as priyayi status, eroding the priyayi’s privileged position. Other Indonesian cultures have aristocracies, but it is the Javanese priyayi who have had the closest involvement with colonialism and the birth of nationhood. The Dutch used the ruling class, whose actual power decreased, fossilising the social system. "(T)he social order of the islands was able to preserve its main outlines while some important changes were beginning to occur beneath the surface.” Social structures were maintained, meaning that local people did not often have direct contact with the Dutch, the distance being filled by the regent and Chinese middlemen. Under the Dutch, regents and aristocrats were reduced to salaried officials, losing their power. Indigenous people were employed in lower level bureaucratic and business administration jobs, however. Geertz describes in strong terms the influence of colonialism on the Javanese priyayi: [The priyayi have] …for one hundred and fifty years been reduced to non-policymaking petty bureaucrats, white-collar errand boys of the Dutch crown, and have long since lost their original sense of playing a decisive role in their society. With the executive element in their elite status, the substance of power, appropriated by the Dutch, they have developed talents of adjustment, accommodation, compromise, and refined acquiescence rather than of resolute and forceful leadership. This is one - among others - of the reasons they have not emerged in … [most of Java] as a strong entrepreneurial class.

The New Educated Elite[edit | edit source]

Education has acted as a spark for the fire of nationalism and progress. The educated elite of Indonesia have historically taken a role in fighting for the good of their country – for example Kartini (1879-1904), a Javanese aristocratic woman, was given a basic education, and she found herself unable to continue to live in her constrictive/restrictive environment. She strove for education opportunity for Indonesians, and although she died young, she exerted a great influence on others. The educated elite played a central role in gaining independence and running the new republic. The leaders of the new Republic in the late 1940s were a small group (about 200) of highly educated Indonesians, many of whom had studied together as part of the new opportunities in education, and who had become resentful of discrimination under the Dutch as they saw the world outside. Peasant grievances now had leadership to express them. The educated elite had provided an active focal point for nationalism. Not just the top-level leaders, but the majority of politicians and civil servants had a Western education to senior high school or tertiary level. After the declaration of independence, leaders from the old elite – the priyayi and the village heads – began to be replaced largely by the new educated elite, although they often maintained some degree of power. This process increased under Suharto - educated people gained power and authority, in particular US educated economists.

Indonesian Chinese[edit | edit source]

Chinese traders have been dealing with Indonesia throughout recorded history, and over time many have settled. They have taken an influential role in Indonesia’s history. Under the Dutch, the Chinese functioned as middlemen, along with the aristocracy. They generally have had a higher level of education than indigenous Indonesians. The Chinese have been compared to the Jews of Europe – as throughout Asia, they ‘are considered to be commercially driven, economically successful, demographically few, politically vulnerable and socially reclusive.’ Like the Jews they are widely resented, although this is not always felt at the personal level. In this generation, they are less socially reclusive and have become part of the culture to a significant degree, often considering themselves Indonesian, unable to speak Chinese, and having indigenous Indonesian friends.

Common People - Insulation[edit | edit source]

Villages had a village level awareness, evident in their mutual cooperation practices (described in Chapter 6 below) but had a lack of awareness beyond the village.

“The village population probably shared little in the cultural values of the [palace-shrine] but had their own culture. Their main link with the central authority was through their tax and labour obligations, and their occasional participation in the festivals or royal processions, as spectators.”  We can see a strong enforcement of social distance in this praxis. Later, in the colonial period, they still had no power outside their village – that was limited to the 2% of the population that made up the elite. 

Sheltered from outside world, sometimes deliberately, (whether for good or ill motives - to protect or to subjugate) but this meant lack of preparation for the future. Legge questions the value of the Dutch policy of sheltering in that it held back what was still an agricultural society and did not allow embryo entrepreneurship to be expressed, which might have prepared it for the necessary transition to the modern world.

        1. Islamic Movements

Indonesian Islam has tended to be modern force – accepting technology, political, and pro-development. Indonesian Islam contains a strong Modernist element, willing to question some traditional Islamic teaching. There is a preparedness for the significance of Western technologies, without necessarily accepting Western ideologies. It is also generally more moderate than that of the Middle East, partly due to its adaptation to local culture and the easy-going Indonesian character. Islamic figures and bodies are politically active, important in pre-independence nationalism and today are involved in both the PPP (United Development Party) and the ruling party, Golkar. Historically they have been involved with advancing education – Suharto was educated at a Muhammadiyah school.

The politics of development[edit | edit source]

Dutch Liberalism and the Ethical Policy[edit | edit source]

Due to a deliberate aim of maintaining the monopoly on trade, the Dutch discouraged entrepreneurship among the indigenous population from the early times of colonialism. Chinese and the regents were used as middlemen. Some indigenous people were employed in lower level bureaucratic and business administration jobs. From the end of the 18th century – before Dutch control of the Indies had reached its greatest extent – there were already efforts by some of the more liberal-minded of the Dutch to see the people of the Indies granted liberty and equality, partly influenced by the ideals of the French revolution. After the Dutch revolution of 1848, liberalising reforms were carried out in the Indies, freeing up trade and attempting to give indigenous people some degree of protection. The belief was that economic development would automatically bring improved welfare for the ‘natives’, as well as increasing Dutch income. The result, however, was a disaster for the indigenous population: rapid increase in production, but a fall in income for the Indonesians, as well as undesirable social and cultural changes. By around 1900 increasing criticism in the Netherlands and another change of government led to a policy which showed more concern for the welfare of Indonesian people. The Ethical policy was introduced. In the context of continuing colonialism, programs would be carried out in areas including irrigation, health, education (Western), communication, industrialisation and indigenous industry. The application of the Ethical policy depended on the cooperation of planters and businessmen in the Indies, and only those reforms which brought benefit (or at least no harm) to them were carried out – health and communication reforms were, education was to a limited degree and industrialisation was not. While some significant improvements were made, the agenda was paternalistic and added new taxes and pressure, all of which was resented by the supposed ‘beneficiaries’. (For Dutch paternalism to be resented, it must have been quite severe, considering it would have been compared with the pre-existing tradition of the god-kings and aristocracy in indigenous culture.) The view of the colonial master was that the problems were fundamentally economic and so little or no considerations were given to social or cultural factors. Many Dutch expected that Indonesians would be thankful to them. They were disappointed. Perhaps the most influential aspect of the Ethical policy was education. This was seen as an instrument of modernisation and social development, but this was more true than the colonial masters could have guessed – it fanned the flames of nationalism, brought more Indonesians into some contact with the outside world for the first time and raised expectations.

“They stopped far short of providing any real stimulus to the latent forces of economic enterprise that might exist within village society.”  Development still rested with Dutch business.  In the post-war period there were insufficient Indonesians with practical experience to fill middle-level government positions. 

====Pembangunan – Development under Suharto ==== Pembangunan, development, has been the catch-cry of the New Order since 1966. Pembangunan has various aspects – urban and rural development, education, population control, economic management and infrastructure. The emphasis is on big business, although there have been some recent moves in the other direction - this year there has been talk of de-emphasising big business, and taking 2% of the profits of big business to be used for the benefit of small cooperatives. There is a perceived lack of equity in the development that has taken place, with accusations of the poor at times being displace for building projects, and the eastern provinces particularly lacking. The Suharto government has suffered from criticism of leaving the people out of development. People now ‘spectators to development’ The disparity between rich and poor is great, and resentment at disparity often outweighs satisfaction with the significant improvements. In short, Sukarno’s dynamic leadership led Indonesia to independence, but Suharto ’s has enabled the country to start to stand on its feet. The big changes for Indonesia have come through macro-changes, top-down changes such as those instituted under the program of Pembangunan.

A question that must be asked at some stage is: Must Indonesian people either take the side-benefits of development (as some would say that they are) or reject development? Obviously both are unattractive, but is there an option that maintains the advantages of development, but with increased equity? Government moves to promote smaller cooperatives may be a step in the right direction, for example. This question cannot be dealt with adequately here, but hopefully the process of laying out the background in this thesis will enable a better attempt at answering for one who wishes to do so. Now we must lay out the background and examine management and water issues. 
        1. Aid & investment

Many countries have been involved in aid projects to Indonesia, including projects in the water and wastewater sector, with various levels of success. The involvement of the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) with the innovative and successful PROKASIH scheme of pollution control (watchdog style), which will be touched on below in Part 5. Aside from aid, there are business opportunities (and with the further deregulation of foreign ownership and lowering of tariffs in 1994, investment has become even more attractive. ) The United States Department of Commerce has identified ten countries that represent “big emerging markets” for American products. Among these is the Republic of Indonesia. Five of the six biggest foreign investors (countries) in Indonesia are Asian (the U.K. being 4th). Australian investment is small, at 1.6%, of the total. There are two major influences in foreign nations giving aid: The first is Economic interest. ‘Tied’ aid brings money back to the donor country, and may help to provide business opportunities. Indonesia is an attractive market - the world’s fourth largest population with one of the highest consistent rates of economic growth mean that there is an increasing market of people who can afford imported goods - and perhaps more relevant to aid, there is a huge demand for infrastructure development. Implementing aid programs provides a business with the opportunity to establish business contacts. Consistent with the picture above, the emphasis of Australia’s aid program appears to favour big business. As well as reducing our aid, 45% is ‘tied’, requiring it to be spent on projects with Australian companies and 77% actually delivers a return to Australia. This is demonstrated by the fact that when Australia’s involvement in the DIFF scheme was cut, business appealed to the damage done to Australia’s image and investment processes. Indonesia is a special case because of its resources and consequent ability to pay for assistance. Its size and consistent growth make it a lucrative potential market, with great potential for investors and trading partners. In the modern post-colonial era, the self-interest of foreign nations is of some benefit to Indonesia. The danger is that by making decisions on the basis of financial return to the donor, and political considerations, a program is potentially disabled with respect of the role of aiding. According to a Community Aid Abroad (Australia) representative, ‘There have been some programs which have had a negative impact on people living in poverty.’ However, ‘Shifting the aid program back towards poverty alleviation would require confronting a vocal business lobby, and perhaps more formidable opposition within the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFAT) and AusAID.’ The second influence is a desire for political stability in Indonesia. Since the rise of Suharto, Western countries have contributed aid partly out of concern to maintain Indonesia’s stability. Humanitarian grounds of course play a part, whether through direct concern by those in control, or through appeasement of the supporters of aid. In practice, however, the above two factors are strong, and can be expected to play a major influence in the direction of aid projects.

        1. International movements – moral watchdogs

The international community has played a role in Indonesia’s history in the past, helping it to win the struggle for independence. A more recent phenomenon is the growth of international movements in development issues, which have come about due to the realisation of common global problems. Conferences are popular, leaders attend, declarations are signed. The question is – can such movements have a real impact? Their statements are not revolutionary in their perception: At the start of the 1990s, more than a quarter of the world’s population still lack the basic human needs of enough food to eat, a clean water supply and hygienic means of sanitation. The Conference recommends that priority be given in water resources development and management to the accelerated provision of food, water and sanitation to these unserved millions. WaterAid takes up the case of environmental statements made by governments and international bodies at international conventions, which are not consistent with their actions: Governments of both industrialised and developing nations signed the World Declaration on the Survival, Protection and Development of Children in New York, 1990, which included a commitment to clean water for all and universal access to sanitation. They followed this with their 1992 commitment at Rio to Agenda 21, which adds the notion that water resource management should take into account the vulnerability of freshwater supplies. The recommendations are also not revolutionary:

Recycling (of water) could reduce the consumption of many industrial consumers by 50% or more, with the additional benefit of reduced pollution. Application of the “polluter pays” principle and realistic water pricing will encourage conservation and reuse. On average, 36% of the water produced by urban water utilities in developing countries is “unaccounted for”. Better management could reduce these costly losses. 

WaterAid takes a stronger, more critical line: By inference, they have agreed that showcase engineering projects are not affordable for most Third World economies and do nothing for the poor. But “business as usual” continues. In spite of unanimous formal agreement to low-cost, people-centred approaches, 80% of investments in the water and sanitation sector are still allocated to high-cost technology. Even more significantly, less than 5% of donor aid is spent on low-cost solutions: their money does not follow donor governments’ stated policy commitment. …On the other hand, to continue “business as usual” will result in greater inequities and a wider gap between served and unserved populations, especially in urban areas. To narrow this gap will require, first, to narrow the gap between rhetoric and action. While they are not expounding the latest results of cutting edge research, that doesn’t deny their importance – they are acting as lobby groups, to influence those who have power. Although such general statements have been made many times in the past, they have continuing value is in education and political lobbying, in expressing broad values and clarifying the implications of these values. They are a necessary check against the powers of self-interested lobby groups (especially industry) who are able to influence those in positions of control over aid and business, whether in Indonesia or the donor/investing country. As seen in section 3.7.1 regarding international protest at Dutch action against the Indonesian fight for independence, the international community can act as a watchdog. However, this has applied clearly only when things are very bad (and newsworthy) for a long time. There is a need to get critical issues into the public eye. Cleary, writing in a high-circulation newspaper, is able to spread crucial information, with the goal of influencing public opinion in an aid-giving country.

Technology[edit | edit source]

Pre-colonial technology was primarily ‘soft’ technology – that is, relating to management and the use of labour – human aspects of technology. An example is the subak irrigation system discussed below. Development has required the application of hard technology, such as construction techniques, water treatment technologies, yet the importance of soft technology has not diminished. Technology in Indonesia has not developed from indigenous sources, but has largely been transplanted from the West. The Indonesian understanding of technology, not having themselves experienced the creativity and pressure of the industrial revolution, is such that external stimulus is often necessary. Technological advance did not come automatically with the arrival of Europeans. Even in the Ethical policy, the Dutch ‘did not achieve - and they did not attempt to achieve - any thoroughgoing technological changes.’ Management of the East Indies was handled in such a way as to maintain the profitable arrangement, ‘the division between a subsistence agriculture on the one hand and the world of trade on the other.’ Modern infrastructure did come to Indonesia – dams, roads, railways, communications (post, telegraph and telephone), shipping and air transport, but for the benefit of the colonial rulers, of course, with the construction largely performed by forced labour. The first main road in Java even had a parallel dirt track for the ‘natives’. Since independence Indonesia has been able to bring technology from anywhere it chooses, and many businesses have been glad to oblige. Thus, there has been a multitude of influences - a consultant told me of an operation manual at a water treatment plant written in French, which no one could read. The rapid development of the economy under the new order has led automatically to the greater purchase and use of technology. However, there are still the restrictions of finance, cultural suitability.

Industry[edit | edit source]

Side effects of development: The very strengths of the present government have led to new problems, those associated with growth. This will be discussed further in Part 4.

Appropriate Technology for Indonesia[edit | edit source]

There is much talk of appropriate technology today, but has it affected practice? The comments made by international lobby group WaterAid suggest that the talk has been primarily rhetoric. Consulting companies, according to one Indonesian research engineer start from their own familiar technology and then consider local problems, (such as highly turbid raw water). Thus they are likely to not understand and begin with the basic framework of culture, management and water characteristics and practices. An Indonesian engineer told of his university lecturer in the 1970s who was critical of the high technology which he considered inappropriate – and worst of all, the rapid sand filters required sand to be imported from France. It should be stated clearly that appropriate technology is not merely a certain set of technologies and methods suitable for developing countries. Slow sand filtration for example is often very good in developing countries (and sometimes in developed countries), but its large area demands make it unsuitable for urban treatment plants. Jasper (1997) states that he knows of many slow sand filters in operation in Indonesian towns, but they often did not work properly, because of unsuitable water characteristics, partly due to the colour of the water, which SSF treatment does not remove. The cost of labour and capital are important considerations. Labour is relatively cheap, but skilled labour is scarce. For capital however, especially imported equipment, Indonesians obtains no inherent cost advantage compared with developed countries, so capital is expensive, relative to labour. Indigenous practices in agriculture and the construction industry have recognised this and have tended to absorb labour while being frugal with capital material. We will briefly consider some key aspects of traditional technology, and forms of technology and development management which have successfully raised standards of water and wastewater development. Budiman , who studied agriculture in Indonesia in the early 1980s, told of his home village in central Java. As a child they didn’t have access to PDAM, so they would take water from a river or pond, beneath the leaves of water plants as they found it was cleaner there. In his final year of agricultural study, on the Kuliah Kerja Nyata (Village Work Experience) in Central Java, he learnt that some villages used drum filters filled with layers of sand, activated carbon and zeolite (zeolite being a new idea, but cheap in Indonesia) to clean water. Different approaches were used for different waters. Another example of indigenous soft technology is of an indigenous rice irrigation system in Bali, found to be superior to modern methods. The subak system, with community head control, shows that good indigenous technology is possible – but it is soft technology, a water use management system. Subak is a centuries old system of coordinating rice irrigation and the planting in Bali, traditionally tied closely with the Hindu temple. Coordinated planting and harvest schedules begin upstream and then progress downstream. In introducing new rice varieties, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) project had insisted that farmers discard that system and plant more frequently, on an individual, uncoordinated basis. The result was reduced production due to severe pest problems. A computer simulation convinced the ADB that the rejection of subak was indeed the cause, and the tradition was reinstated. The ADB acknowledged, ‘ “The cost of the lack of appreciation of the merits of the traditional regime has been high.” ’

Summary[edit | edit source]

Foreign influence[edit | edit source]

Indonesia has a long history of contact with foreigners, and a history of exploitation and dominance by Europeans and briefly by Japanese. This history continues today with the mixed motives of foreign aid and investment in Indonesia, but in the age of independence there is less opportunity for exploitation, and the involvement is usually of benefit to Indonesians. A major factor in Indonesia gaining independence was through international pressure brought on the Dutch government. Modern education and global awareness, particularly among those who studied abroad, were major influences in the changes that have occurred and the process of gaining independence. Indonesia is in these senses a product of the modern global age, albeit with a long and significant international history. Today, Indonesia cooperates with foreigners as partners.

From an Indonesian perspective, the three key problems of Dutch colonialism were:

  1. It was for the benefit of the Netherlands at the expense of Indonesia (as is the nature of colonialism). Under traditional rulers, adat (customary law) placed limits on exploitation and the wealth was not being taken overseas. This changed under the colonial rulers. Little development occurred in the Indies except that which benefited the Dutch and supported industrialisation at home – while in many ways the Indies regressed. The traditional social structures were crippled and wealth was plundered.
  2. Failure to develop Indonesia more than required for their own ends, particularly in technology, leadership and administrative skills. ‘The failure of the Netherlands to train an adequate reservoir of indigenous trained technicians and administrators may be regarded as one of the major failures of her colonial policy.’
  3. In their rule of the Indies they failed to account for cultural factors, especially in their liberal reforms and Ethical Policy. The Dutch were better than the Portuguese at establishing relationships, less alienating and offensive, having learnt from the mistakes of their predecessors in the islands – however, this was only a matter of degree, and it changed once they had gained power. ‘The very characteristics which had gained for [the Dutch] the reputation of being good colonizers, their paternalism, their concern for order and efficiency, made them obstinate and inflexible in the face of change.’ As well as the issues discussed above, there are numerous small examples of Europeans failing to appreciate the local context.

More positively, the Dutch

  1. united Indonesia in a way that had not occurred in history, and
  2. reduced warfare by their overall control.
  3. sparked the development of nationalism through the allowance of education, in a final unintended legacy. By the time of the Japanese invasion, nationalism was becoming a mass movement, ‘a saturated solution, ready to crystallise at the first shock.’

It should be noted that the longest and most complete control by the Dutch was over the island of Java, and consequently the strongest Dutch impact, positive and negative, was on the Javanese culture.

Development and leadership – the question of appropriateness[edit | edit source]

After the Dutch revolution of 1848, liberalising reforms resulted in a rapid increase in production, but a fall in income for the Indonesians, as well as undesirable social and cultural changes - all considered, a disaster for Indonesians. The Ethical Policy, described above, brought about greater changes, but still in the context of a repression that prevented genuine leadership or creativity developing. Liberal economic theory saw “an automatic connection between economic development and welfare”, as described above. The failure of liberal economic theory under the Dutch (in the late 19th and early 20th centuries) and liberal politics under Sukarno demonstrate that not only hard technology can be inappropriate, but so can forms of economic and political management. . The Dutch Ethical Policy was much more pro-active in its approach to poverty. However, its success was limited by the excessive paternalism of the colonial rulers, and particularly the opposing forces within colonialism whose concern was profit, not welfare. The need for of an Indonesian form of democracy with centralised power at the centre was widely recognised in the 1950s, but Sukarno’s Guided Democracy failed to solve the escalating social problems of the day, just as the paternalistic Dutch economic policies had failed. It has only been the consistent development focus of the strong, interventionist Suharto government that has been able to achieved a significant degree of success in dealing with economic problems. Echoes of the liberal philosophy can be seen today, in the economic focus of the present government. However, the economic improvements and reductions in poverty demonstrate the success, due primarily to a focus on development rather than liberalism. The present government also takes more initiative in aiding the poor, compared with previous regimes, and has had success in reducing poverty, although it is widely considered that the gap between rich and poor has grown. The government has shown itself willing and able to deal with change. Now it is increasingly necessary to face the potential environmental crisis – in particular the human environment. Is it possible to combine the development success of the New Order with a broader sensitivity to the human environment? We will consider options for this kind of development in Part 5 after considering culture and water and wastewater. Differences in appropriateness can also be seen in choice of technology. Choices, plans and designs need to recognise the social make-up of the Indonesian society.

The influence of education[edit | edit source]

The elite, and particularly the educated elite, have played a decisive role in Indonesia’s modern history. Revolution - the fight for independence and the economic revolution under Suharto - has come through the educated elite. Education is discussed in more detail in Appendix B.

Initial cultural observations[edit | edit source]

Absorption and synthesis can be seen in the adaptation of new beliefs and practices, without throwing out the old. The rule of the god-kings shows the earliest origins of the high view of authority, which will be examined in Chapter 7. The failure of liberal forms of economics and government, and relative success of interventionist policies, may indicate a need for strong government culture. At significant times in Indonesia’s history, they were able to defeat the foreign enemy by cunning – the Portuguese through use of Eastern diplomatic skills in building a coalition, and the Japanese through hidden propaganda and quiet, secretive preparation. Most people, historically, have been isolated, restricted to their limited role in village level government. Confined to modern history are the broader popular movements, such as the Islamic movements, which have played a role in social development and thus share some responsibility for Indonesia’s twin revolutions of independence (under Sukarno) and economic growth (under Suharto).

Part 3 – CULTURE AND ITS IMPACT ON DEVELOPMENT[edit | edit source]

‘There are truths in one country which are falsehoods in another’

Introduction to culture – influences and symbols[edit | edit source]

Indonesian culture – or to be more precise – Indonesian cultures, are ancient and developed, complex, and sophisticated. As stated in Section 1.3.1 (Scope), however, our focus will be on the Javanese culture, with notes made on major differences with other cultures where possible.

Soft and Hard technologies - people and technical issues[edit | edit source]

Led by such thinkers as Papanek (1972), Schumacher (1973) and Ellul (1990 [1988]), there has been increasing awareness in recent years of the importance of ‘software’ issues in engineering and design - those relating to the human element: culture, demographic issues (such as education levels), management, training, and community participation, along with realistic consideration of the financial situation. Wakeman speaks of the increased recognition of ‘software’ issues in the water and sanitation sector – those relating to the human element, such as community participation and training: It has been recognized that the technical, or "hardware" issues may be resolved for a particular project, but if the software issues have not been adequately addressed the project may still fail. The traditional emphasis in development worldwide has been on the ‘hardware’ - overcoming the technical and technological barriers to development, and supplying sufficient finances. However, there are other potential problems: inability to operate, maintain or repair equipment due to insufficient finances or local expertise; unsuitability of a new system with its disruption of important cultural patterns; failure to operate in the local physical conditions (which are usually very different to Western countries). The intended beneficiaries, meanwhile, may revert to their former practices, even if inadequate, and the potential result is high-cost, high-technology equipment unused and rusting in a developing country The software issues must be split into two main sections:

  1. The human element, which we will examine here.
  2. Water use, sanitation and industrial waste practices will be examined in Part 4.

Note the length of Part 3 compared with the shorter Part 4, which focuses more on the physical environment. This is not a deliberate shift of focus, but a consequence of the complexity of cultural factors compared to a basic description of more concrete water resources and practices.

Introduction[edit | edit source]

The subak method of irrigation described in Chapter 4 control used exactly the same ‘hardware’, the canals and weirs, as the modern methods of rice growing, yet achieved vastly superior results. Its ‘software’ was vastly superior. As stated in Part 1, the human element play a central role in the success of a technology. Cultural issues come to the fore particularly in management and cross-cultural encounters, such as foreign aid, consultancy, investment or partnership.

Appropriate use of hardware.[edit | edit source]

This is not to neglect technical issues. Ultimately there must be a hardware application – the concrete follows the understanding –pipes must be laid and treatment plants must be designed and built. However, these too must account for the context, such as water characteristics which impact on treatment processes, which will be discussed in Part 4.

Major influences[edit | edit source]

The kingdom cultural heritage[edit | edit source]

The dominance of the kingdoms and the power of the god-kings, maintained even in later Islamic kingdoms, led to a view of power and a set of social/relationship dynamics that survive to this day. These factors are particularly strong in the Javanese culture, the patterns of relating and manners of speech being most pronounced in Central Java, where the great kingdoms had their strongest influence. Javanese dominance and distinctives The Javanese tradition, has been influential on the nation as a whole, Javanese dominance continues today to a significant extent – major company, media, economics, politics, culture, controlled by Javanese culture, even though perhaps owned by Chinese, staff are Javanese. This has continued to an extent with the old elite and the new educated elite. As noted in section 3.4, the Javanese have experienced a longer period of colonisation than other ethnic groups, so the colonial influence is greater on the Javanese than on other ethnic groups.

Islam and tradition[edit | edit source]

In the relationship between Muslim tradition and local adat (customary law and tradition), there is a degree of compromise between the two. The general acceptance of the Pancasila reflects the extent to which Islam has adapted to the local culture. Islam had to adapt to be acceptable to the people. Adat and Islamic practice have blended, although at times there has been tension.

The effect of Western tradition and ideas[edit | edit source]

Western tradition and ideas have had their effect through European forms of Christianity (especially in the outer regions), socialism, rationalism and secular humanism. More recently, Western attitudes have been conveyed to Indonesia to a greater degree through news and entertainment in the media (along with the distortions inherent in such media). This is vital in seeking to understand the direction of cultural change.

Symbols and themes[edit | edit source]

We will introduce some of the key themes by considering Indonesia’s major symbols. The wayang, or shadow puppet show, is seen as indicative of Indonesian culture by novelists such as Koch and Rendra as well as academic Mehmet. Mehmet speaks of the priyayi using ‘quasi-acting skills as in Wayang kulit’ in negotiations. In my own experience of relating with Javanese people I sometimes had a sense of acting, in myself and my Javanese friends – especially from a friend’s nine-year-old son, who had been taught to act and be polite, but was unpracticed and obvious (and comical). This acting does not preclude genuine communication, but can be misleading to the uninitiated. The slow-moving wayang also indicate the view of power as indirect and unseen. The Pancasila is the national ideology, emphasising tolerance and unity – it is an imposed but appropriate symbol generally accepted by the Indonesian people. Sukarno claimed that he did not create Pancasila, but formulated feelings from ‘our innermost hearts’. This prefigures the themes of harmony and synthesis, as does ‘Unity in diversity’, the national motto. Two common Javanese sayings are discussed in chapter 8, partly in regard to their indirect emphasis on authority demonstrating the Javanese view of power.

Insights from language[edit | edit source]

“A small saying can function like a spyglass through which one can glimpse a large and turbulent world. To object to this exercise… is like protesting that houses fields and ships cannot be contained within the physical body of a telescope.” In chapters 6 to 9 we will draw some insights from the national and local languages. The major languages under consideration are Indonesian (Bahasa Indonesia) and Javanese (Bahasa Jawa).

Introduction to the Hofstede dimensions[edit | edit source]

This chapter draws on Hofstede’s general analysis of dimensions of culture and applies them specifically to Indonesia. Hofstede describes culture in terms of four key indices, and it will be shown that Indonesian culture differs from Australian culture significantly on each of the four dimensions. The dimensions are:

  1. The relationship between the individual and the group - ‘individualism’ or ‘collectivism’.
  2. Social inequality, including the relationship with authority - ‘power distance’.
  3. Ways of dealing with uncertainty, relating to the control of aggression and the expression of emotions - ‘uncertainty avoidance’.
  4. Concepts of toughness and tenderness, and the social implications of gender – ‘masculinity’ or ‘femininity’.

These will be discussed in greater depth below as appropriate. The studies on which his work is based were conducted on IBM employees in 53 countries and regions (including Indonesia) in the early 1970s. The employees were taken from the same mixed set of occupations in each country and were well matched in everything except nationality, in order that differences could only be explained by culture. The setting and focus of the study was the workplace, but it was found to correlate with other aspects of society as well, including personal relationships, general demeanour (relaxed or busy), values and life goals. Remembering Mark Twain’s quip that there are ‘lies, damned lies and statistics’, some preliminary warnings should be given:

  1. We must recognise cultural variations between ethnic and social sub-groups within a country (especially one so diverse as Indonesia). Although the focus here is primarily on the Javanese culture, Hofstede’s analysis is simply of ‘Indonesia’.
  2. This is an empirical model, and it is likely that some countries fit the model better than others. I will suggest in Chapter 9 that Indonesia is basically a weak uncertainty avoidance country, but high uncertainty avoidance with respect to procedural matters.
  3. The major characteristics of Indonesian culture, which I will describe, do not correspond exactly with the Hofstede dimensions – they generally correspond to one strongly, but perhaps relate significantly to one or two of the others. However, for the sake of clarity, I have not drawn the complete web of interrelationships between characteristics, but have rather highlighted the major features and causalities.
  4. We must avoid the danger of stereotyping and judgement.

Where a value is quoted for the Hofstede index, Australia’s index is quoted for comparison. Other countries can be found on the accompanying graph. ==Collectivism – mutual cooperation and Gotong-royong ==Individualism’ or ‘collectivism’ = The relationship between the individual and the group. On Hofstede’s dimension of individualism, Indonesia ranks equal 47th out of 53 (that is, highly collectivist). Australia ranks 2nd, and other Western countries are also largely individualist. This is the most marked difference between Indonesia and Australia in the Hofstede dimensions. Individualism pertains to societies in which the ties between individuals are loose: everyone is expected to look after himself or herself and his or her immediate family. Collectivism as its opposite pertains to societies in which people from birth onwards are integrated into strong, cohesive ingroups, which throughout people’s lifetime continue to protect them in exchange for unquestioning loyalty. Indonesian collectivism is best described by two major features: cooperation and the pre-eminence of relationships; and conformity and concern for security at the expense of freedom;

The pre-eminence of relationship over task[edit | edit source]

The Indonesian value of personal loyalty to the group (family, friend, superior, and community) contrasts with Western society’s more abstract ethical values influenced by ancient Greek thought. In a collectivist society relationships take priority over tasks, and it is expected that one treat people differently according to their relationship. Children are taught to think in terms of ‘we’ rather than ‘I’. In individualist societies the relative values are reversed. Individualist societies consider that one should treat everybody alike. In collectivist societies, “the distinction between ‘our group’ and ‘other groups’ is at the very root of people’s consciousness, treating one’s friends better than others is natural and ethical, and sound business practice.”

“The village has been the basic Javanese social unit since time immemorial.” Indonesians see the tradition of gotong-royong cooperation as coming from the village tradition.  Gotong-royong is village based mutual cooperation. In Sukarno’s words, it means ‘toiling hard together, acts of service by all for the interest of all.’  

We see the relationship orientation in that gotong-royong is ‘certainly not based on considerations of efficiency such as one might find in modern economic activity,’ and in that ‘There was no place in the system for individual freedom or considerations of individual interest… one is born into the village “co-operative”.’ This cooperation is seen in Bali’s subak rice irrigation scheme discussed in Part 2 – in this case we see that there is actually a different kind of efficiency at work, in spite of its slowness. The disastrous rejection of subak initially implemented by the project managers showed the dominance of individualist thinking in development. Most of the doors are shut, at top government level, as far as Western news-men are concerned. Just a few … who’ve got reputations that can’t be ignored, get through now and then – and even they don’t get through very often. …It’s all personal here- personal favour. If Indonesian big-shots see you, it’s for personal reasons, unless you’re very well known. Dealings are personal. In Indonesia, you don’t visit one person, but the household. One marries the family, not just the person. Visits do not need a prior appointment, although this is less true in a business setting.

Conformity[edit | edit source]

On two separate occasions devout Muslims in Indonesia explained key elements of their praxis to me by the word ‘conformity’. I was struck by this, knowing how negatively conformity is viewed in my own Australian culture. Collectivist societies exert a pressure to conform to the group. In Indonesia, conformity and tolerance (Section 8.5.5) exist in tension - pressure to conform will come softly. Consensus (Section 8.5.3) can be a mask for conformity. For the person inside the culture, the pressure is considerable. Perhaps the best summary of this tension is “You’re not allowed to do that – but that’s alright, it doesn’t matter.” As well as collectivism, there are other factors. In a culture that emphasises authority and hierarchy, conformity is often safer than creativity. The cultural framework of respect for authority, politeness and peace express themselves in conformity. This clearly has implications for management and education, as well as technical skill. Conformity tends to stifle creativity, and this is a potentially negative implication for development.

Security, criticism and debate[edit | edit source]

‘Java did not encounter print-capitalism until the late nineteenth century.  (So) litterateurs had no special prestige or political position within (the professional stratum)…The only medium that by its very nature would have permitted a conscious, systematically ordered coalition of various, separate, professional mockeries - the mass-produced printed word - did not yet exist.’ The separatist movements of the early years of independence, the coup of 1965 and other cases of internal instability suggest a latent instability, dangers of grievances due to perceived inequalities/injustices. Thus the government has had reason to be concerned for security. Indonesia has less press freedom than Western countries, consistent with collectivism. There are two laws protecting the security of the Indonesian State – one dates from Sukarno and one from the Dutch. The Anti-Subversion law was first enacted as a presidential decree by Sukarno in 1963, a time of separatist movements and assassination attempts on the president. The law is loose and all encompassing, and has been criticised for this. It is a powerful means of control. The government can convict people based on the Act without having to prove their deliberateness, guilt or effect of their action.

Suharto’s regime passed the Sukarno’s Anti-Subversion decree as an Act, and has used it more than it was under Sukarno. However, recently, the government has tried not to use this Anti-Subversion Act, but used the criminal act instead. Komnas HAM (National Commission Of Human Rights) has condemned the Anti-Subversion Act as a violation of the universal norms of human rights, and has urged the government to repeal the legislation. The Criminal Act is derived from Dutch law. It outlawed spreading hate against the government or Dutch monarch, orally or in writing, and the current version has references to the Dutch monarch replaced by references to the Indonesian president. This has also been criticised as a violation of human rights by law experts. Considering the impact on Indonesian culture of the ancient kingdoms, the Dutch, the Japanese and the Guided Democracy, it is more remarkable that Komnas HAM is allowed to exist and speak out than that there are still restrictions. Security in practice is actually more a matter of what is openly expressed than what is thought or spoken indoors. Although ‘the old culture was tense with inner contradictions and antagonistic currents,’ this was not necessarily visible. The current continuation of the historical factors favouring political conformity could imply that it conformity is required rather than being a natural expression of an Indonesian’s personality – this is supported by the rapid changes occurring in the younger generation today. Schwarz points to claims that Indonesians have lost the habit of debating. It is unclear, however, that there ever was such a habit. Not under Sukarno Guided Democracy, when some of his former political partners were exiled or put under house arrest, including his former partner in the independence struggle, Sjahrir. It is true that the New Order shows great concern for security, often at the expense of freedom, but this is not new. Perhaps it would be more accurate to say that they are only beginning to develop such faculties and habits, through education and expectations. Universities have been depoliticised since around 1974. The ‘mysterious shootings’ of several thousand known and alleged criminals in 1982-3 were later revealed to have been ordered by the government.

Internal security, inequality and development[edit | edit source]

‘Fifty years of independence and internal migration has blurred Indonesia’s deep social cleavage lines but in too many areas race, religion and wealth still line up to form a structural imbalance of economic power.’ The difference between former governments and the present government is not that the present government promotes inequality, but that they promote development that benefits Indonesians in general. Indonesia has had strongly controlling, often repressive governments throughout known history, but rarely have past governments attempted wide-ranging social policies, and even more rarely have they been successful. The concern for security has taken a different approach with the present government, being indigenous (unlike the colonial rulers) and focusing on internal security, generally avoiding picking fights with other countries (unlike Sukarno). The relative peace that has resulted under the present regime is one factor that has allowed development to continue. The security emphasis in its present form it has allowed a greater focus on development, which has led to significant reductions in poverty However, it has also restricted freedom of speech and participation in development.

Social dynamics[edit | edit source]

In passing, we should note some key differences in relationship dynamics. In keeping with the pattern of highly collectivist societies. Family relationships are the basis of society – in Indonesia, respectful terms of address are generally family terms meaning father, mother, older sister or older brother. It is ‘high-context’ - “Lots of things which in collectivist cultures are self-evident must be said explicitly in individualist cultures. American business contracts are much longer than Japanese business contracts.” In Indonesia, according to one experienced Australian engineer, problems are not solved when contracts are signed. Shame (social in nature) may be more significance than guilt (which is personal) ; in order to preserve dignity, some Indonesians may avoid saying “I don’t know” or “We can’t complete the deal.” In the collectivist society, silence is acceptable - being together is emotionally sufficient. Collectivism has an emphasis on relationship and belonging rather than achieving.

Change[edit | edit source]

Wealthy countries more often tend to be individualistic, as can be seen by looking at the graph. Hofstede’s conclusion is that wealth leads to individualism rather than vice versa. Individualism may also be increased by urbanisation,. We can probably expect that Indonesia will become more individualist as it continues to increase in wealth and urbanise. This can already be seen as streets which were once very social in the evenings, with people sitting outside their houses, are now quieter, some people having withdrawn indoors with their families and televisions and other modern luxuries.

Changes in conformity[edit | edit source]

There have been halting moves toward political openness, prompted in part by the increasing education levels. In a 1990 speech, Suharto spoke of developing ‘people’s initiative, creativity and participation in development,’ and of making greater allowances for differences in opinion. As some people began expressing strong and open criticism, however, the attempts at openness were reversed. Although the reasons are unclear, case it is clear that the government or the nation was not ready for the kind of criticism that was being expressed. If change is to come, - and we are particularly concerned here with participation in development - it must come slowly and gently. Conformity is showing signs of decreasing, as Western influence and higher education levels lead to a greater desire to determine one’s own lot. There is a thread of non-conformism through history, and we can see this today by watching news reports on Indonesia. Anti-government demonstrations, like those in June 1996, show the change that is occurring. Wahjono et al and Dharmanto agree that conformity has been a restraint on ingenuity in the past, and that this is still true for less educated people, but the influence of media is helping to change that, through providing more information. Conformity is the base state of Indonesian society, but it is not the only state, especially behind the public face.

The Nature of Power, authority and respect[edit | edit source]

‘Power distance’ = Social inequality, including the relationship with authority.

Introduction – Power Distance[edit | edit source]

Indonesia is a high power distance country (ranking 8th out of 53 countries), high even by the standards of Asian countries, while Australia is low power distance (ranking 41st). Power distance is a measure of the way in which a society is accustomed to deal with its social inequalities (especially authority). Hofstede defines power distance as “the extent to which the less powerful members of institutions and organizations within a country expect and accept that power is distributed unequally.” Note that unequal distribution (and use) of power is not merely practised, it is expected. Power distance reflects the way in which authority is viewed by subordinates. Hofstede argues that ancient kingdoms spanning many centuries have fostered large power distances in descendent societies, which applies throughout the archipelago, and particularly to the Javanese. Thus we could also expect that power distance could much lower in some outer islands if they do not have the kingdom heritage. Anderson discusses the Javanese view of power at length in his work Language and Power. As the Javanese concept of kasekten (kesaktian in Indonesian) does not translate into English, he denotes the Javanese concept by capitalising ‘power’ – ie ‘Power’ – a practice which we will follow.

Origins/history[edit | edit source]

The Javanese God-kings[edit | edit source]

Of the Buddhist kingdoms of central Java of the 8th-10th C, ‘The divine qualities of these kings… had important implications in Javanese history and probably in the history of all parts of the archipelago that professed the forms of Indian religion. He was not a god-king; he was the god.’ Hinduism and Buddhism emphasised hierarchy and the role of the god-king , both of which have influenced Indonesia through the ages. There was a great concern for status and court ceremony in the Hindu-Buddhist kingdoms and the later Islamic kingdoms. In the pre-colonial Javanese kingdom, in which “the central government is essentially an extension of the ruler’s personal household and staff. Officials are granted their positions, and the perquisites that go with them, as personal favors of the ruler, and they may be dismissed or degraded as such.” As discussed in Chapter 4, above, “(t)he village population probably shared little in the cultural values of the [palace-shrine] but had their own culture. Their main link with the central authority was through their tax and labour obligations, and their occasional participation in the festivals or royal processions, as spectators.” We can see a strong enforcement of social distance in this praxis. Later, in the colonial period, they still had no power outside their village – that was limited to the 2% of the population that made up the elite. Across Indonesia, the smallness of most of the kingdoms leads to the ‘little king’ approach, where the presence of the king was never too far away, unlike China, with its traditional expression ‘Beijing is a long way away.’ The Javanese people had a messianic hope in Ratu Adil, the Just Ruler - that is, their desire was not to be free from rule, but to have a just ruler. That is they had an expectation of authority rather than a resigned acceptance of it (cf Hofstede’s understanding of power distance, Section 5.6 ) The priyayi today, say Mehmet wields tremendous power as a proxy to the ‘ruler’, in this case their superior in the bureaucracy or government.

Colonialism[edit | edit source]

The high view of power did not automatically decrease under the Dutch. Dutch rulers in 18th century Batavia (Jakarta) for example, required homage to be shown to them in a manner reminiscent of Javanese kings. At least one Governor-General used some of the traditional Javanese symbols of rule. The Javanese were subject to Dutch control for a much longer period than other regions.

The nature of power - Conceptual/worldview[edit | edit source]

Anderson[edit | edit source]

There is, of course, more to the Indonesian understanding of Power and leadership than can be represented by a single number. Anderson argues that Power in Javanese thought is concrete rather than abstract, and exists apart from its users; that Power cannot be created but only accumulated, as the total amount in the universe is constant; and that all Power derives from the same source, and so is amoral, not raising questions of legitimacy. It is normal then, to be more concerned with emphasising the accumulation of Power and the signs of its accumulation rather than exercising it. Power is greatest at the centre, the power holder, and diminishes in proportion to distance. Wealth flows to the holder of Power, so gift-giving to the Power-holder is natural, and gift-taking is halus.

Power should be demonstrated[edit | edit source]

It is not unusual for an Indonesian to be kept waiting for hours and told to come back another day - as a means of showing power. According to Dharmanto, a Westerner will often be treated better, because they are a guest in Indonesia. Sukarno called on Javanese myths such as Ratu Adil (the hoped-for just ruler), associating them with himself. He also gave himself titles (such as ‘Great Leader of the Revolution’) He once appeared at a press conference without shoes – because an electrical storm was brewing and his spiritual adviser had warned him that his vitality was so great it would attract lightning. Although this was presumably genuine, it did demonstrate clearly to onlookers that he, Sukarno, was a man who possessed the mystical quality, the substance of Power, to qualify him as leader.

Power is mystical[edit | edit source]

We have seen the divine nature of the Javanese rulers (and most likely those of certain other ethnic groups). From a writer of the Majapahit period, we learn that as the ruler was a god-king, his palace was also a shrine, and he possessed Power – supernatural power necessary to rule. It seems likely that Indonesian rulers invited Brahmans to their courts, hoping to benefit from their magic. The great port of Melaka on the Malay Peninsula fell to the Portuguese in 1511. ‘Indonesian rulers immediately showed interest in the Portuguese, but only in order to comprehend the new spiritual force that they followed and to discover whether it could be incorporated into their own spiritual strength, or whether it could be met with greater prestige from traditional sources.’ In other Indonesian cultures than the Javanese there is also an association of authority to rule with spiritual power.

Maintaining the social distance[edit | edit source]

The social distance is often maintained by the behaviour of the person of higher status. High status people may use go-betweens, or leave people waiting showing that their convenience is more important. The stratification of social structures is reflected in the languages. Javanese (Bahasa Jawa) is a stratified language, with informal, deferential and middle level sub-languages, and two now-rare higher levels associated with the old kingdoms. The languages of Bali, Lombok, Sumbawa and Bima and the Sundanese language are also stratified. A significant change for Indonesia occurred through the choice of Malay-derived Bahasa Indonesia as the language of the nation. As an inter-ethnic language with only minor stratification (mainly personal pronouns), Bahasa Indonesia had a feeling of liberty. In practice, however, there is a de facto stratification associated with the new language: formal Indonesian is used for writing and for official functions; a much more expressive and interesting colloquial form for common use is partly influenced by the local dialect; and the most intimate form of communication is usually to use a common local language. The foreigner who learns only formal Indonesian finds a partial barrier to personal communication.

Modern politics[edit | edit source]

‘I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Democracy simply doesn’t work.’ - Kent Brockman, The Simpsons. In Indonesia, the experiment with liberal democracy didn’t work. Guided democracy, discussed above in section 3.7.2, reflected a need for strong leadership. Even those who disagreed with Sukarno’s conception of Guided Democracy agreed with the need for a more authoritarian style of government, with power to make important decisions that could be unpopular with powerful groups. Sukarno was a ruler in the Javanese tradition. In some ways Sukarno’s Guided Democracy reflected the traditional rule of the god-king, with an emphasis on ritual, and monuments and buildings at the expense of basic welfare. Thus, although he had correctly identified the need for greater leadership, the traditional exercise of this principle failed to deliver. His power should also not be overstated - even under the Guided Democracy, Sukarno’s power was not absolute but depended on balancing the influence of the major power groups. Suharto’s government, discussed in section 3.8, continued the principle of Guided Democracy (although the phrase ‘Pancasila Democracy’ is used, to emphasise its basis in Indonesian values). The advantage, more often realised now than under Sukarno, is the ability to do the right thing rather than popularity. For example, the ever-pragmatic government was able to adopt painful economic reforms when needed in the 1980s (section 3.8.1, above). Suharto ’s technocrats - US educated economists - are known as the ‘Berkeley Mafia’, reflecting their power. Obviously, a more power-based style of government and bureaucracy is open to abuse, and this does occur at various levels. Nonetheless, the key lessons of history are that the greatest changes have come through strong leadership, but that strong leadership is insufficient if it is not properly focused.

Inter-ethnic Variation and Trends[edit | edit source]

There are variations in practice between ethnic groups, and the enforcing of the social distance is particularly characteristic of more traditional Javanese people.. Power distance appears to be reduced through less traditional agriculture; more modern technology; more urban living; social mobility; education; greater wealth and a larger middle class. These all apply to Indonesia’s current development, so it is not surprising that power distance is decreasing even now. There are generation differences as the younger generation is better educated, more liberal and open. More educated people tend to have a lower power distance, in low power distance countries. Supriadi noted that lecturers who had studied overseas, less than about 35 years old, are much less formal and do not try to maintain the social distance. Talking to Indonesian people in their twenties, they often express frustration and desire for change.

Conclusion[edit | edit source]

Supriadi repeated a common Indonesian joke about leadership: The ten fundamental laws of Indonesia:

  1. The leader is always right
  2. If the leader does something wrong, go back to rule no 1
  3. Rules 3-10 to be arranged by the leader.

The fact that such a joke can be made shows the changing nature of power. There is more to be said about power - we will now examine the dimension of femininity and its impact on the exercise of the power.

Femininity – Humility and the exercise of power[edit | edit source]

Masculinity’ or ‘femininity’ = Concepts of toughness and tenderness, and the social implications of gender.

Introduction [edit | edit source]

Social dynamics are strongly affected by the Hofstede dimension of toughness versus tenderness, or masculinity versus femininity. Indonesia is feminine, ranking 30th out of 53 in the Hofstede masculinity index. Indonesians agree that the different ethnic groups vary, especially on the masculinity index, and that Javanese are at the extreme feminine end. The corollary is that the cultures of other Indonesian ethnic groups may be significantly more masculine than the Hofstede index suggests. For comparison, Australia is strongly masculine, ranking 16th. In a feminine society roles overlap, and ‘both men and women are supposed to be modest, tender and concerned with the quality of life.’ In a masculine society, ‘men are supposed to be assertive, tough, and focused on material success whereas women are supposed to be more modest, tender and concerned with the quality of life.’ The distinctive of Indonesian culture, and Javanese culture in particular, is that certain aspects of femininity are associated with the way in which power is exercised. In Javanese legends and folk history the slight halus satria [knight] almost invariably overcomes the demonic raseka (giant), buta (ogre), or wild man from overseas. In the typical battle scenes of the wayang plays the contrast between the two becomes strikingly apparent in the slow smooth, impassive, and elegant movements of the satria, who scarcely stirs from his place, and the acrobatic leaps, somersault, shrieks, taunts, lunges, and rapid sallies of his demonic opponent… The concentrated Power of the satria makes him invulnerable. Femininity in the Javanese culture is expressed in three related concepts:

  1. Halus (refined, smooth, small).
  2. Cerdik (clever, cunning) and ngelmu (esoteric knowledge).
  3. Sopan (polite).

We will examine the first two concepts in more detail.

Being halus[edit | edit source]

Halus cannot be translated directly into English, so we will attempt to describe the range of meaning, beginning with definitions from an Indonesian-English dictionary: Halus:

  1. refined, cultured, sensitive
  2. soft, delicate, smooth (of skin, cloth etc)
  3. unseen (of spirits)
  4. small
  5. finely pounded or granulated

Anderson adds that it is free from blemishes or unevenness.

The range of meanings gives a clue to the connotations of halus. It is refined, small and quiet, yet as Anderson explains, it is yet it is connected to Power. It may seem odd to a Westerner that a word with these connotations can be associated with power, but in a feminine culture ‘small and slow are beautiful’. The keys to understanding the Javanese idea of being halus are: modesty instead of assertiveness; being soft-spoken; harmony; and spiritual power. The concept of halus behaviour comes from the Javanese priyayi aristocratic class (section 4.2.1), affecting the broader Javanese culture, and consequently the broader Indonesian culture. In halus behaviour, modesty and disapproval of assertiveness express themselves in refinement and etiquette. Halus conduct is imitated to varying degrees in all segments of a hierarchical society. Halus leadership is: the giving of orders in polite and indirect language, sometimes even in the form of a request rather than a command; the request is nonetheless understood by both parties to be a command.  it is a more powerful command than an express order, because is necessarily given by a halus person, one of higher power and status and closer to the center of Power. Ngono ya ngono, neng ojo ngono is a Javanese saying which translates roughly as ‘Yes, you may do that – but don’t do that.’ It expresses the traditional approach of leadership, and means that although nominally there is liberty and openness, don’t try and use it. The fact the concepts halus and sopan originate in the Javanese kingdoms is shown by the fact that today Central Javanese culture is the most halus and sopan, and this was the region dominated by the major kingdoms, and where a Sultan has maintained his position (if not his authority) even until today.

Ngelmu and cerdik - Wisdom & knowledge in Javanese Thought[edit | edit source]

For many centuries ilmu – esoteric, mystical knowledge – has been highly valued in Indonesia, in keeping with its animist, Hindu, Buddhist and Sufi Islamic influences, all of which are mystical. In the seventh century I-Ching, the great Chinese scholar-pilgrim, learnt Sanskrit grammar in the kingdom of Sriwijaya, and later spent four years there translating Buddhist texts . Aceh (in Sumatra) was a centre of Islamic learning in the 16th and 17th centuries. The priyayi were the bearers of mystic court-traditions. Javanese tradition values inner quietness and cosmic harmony and when it deals with questions of knowledge they remain esoteric rather than explained. This is reflected in less scientific precision in the Indonesian and Javanese languages. Echoing this mysticism, different forms of the root word rasa can mean feeling, opinion, or (in verb form) to think, or to feel. This, suggests Zainu’ddin, demonstrates that thinking and feeling are not as clearly delineated as they often are in Western thought. Although wisdom and knowledge had been so long valued, they began to take on a new dimension evident by the early 19th century. Anderson speaks of ‘Knowledge’ as a competing claim to the leadership of the Javanese, over against Power. Today the process has continued with the influence of Western education with Western-style knowledge and education now highly valued, but without completely displacing the mystical, esoteric type of knowledge. In Western society mysticism has largely been overtaken by a scientific approach to learning. For many centuries in the West there has been an educational mindset, where books have been published to disseminate knowledge. The late arrival of print-capitalism in the late nineteenth century has not given Indonesia the same period of exposure to an education oriented culture. In Western society today, a new stage is being reached - belief in technology and the knowability of things, associated with modernism, has partially been replace by aspects of postmodernism, with its relativism, uncertainty and openness. In Indonesia the belief in the knowability of things has never been there in the same way (thanks to the esoteric view of knowledge) and as the results of the Western industrial and technological revolutions are adapted in Indonesia, modernism is bypassed.

Cerdik – Cunning defeats the brute[edit | edit source]

A major theme of Indonesian literature and the wayang is that of the smaller, physically weaker person winning against the seemingly more powerful through being either halus or cerdik, which are different but related concepts. Consider Anderson’s description of the halus knight in the wayang, in the introduction above. Supriadi recalls a story he was taught in primary school in Lombok (east of Bali) about a rabbit that tricked some crocodiles into forming a bridge across a river to allow him to cross without being eaten. The theme of cerdik victory is widely found in Indonesian literature - the Minangkabau people of Sumatra have a legend that when a stronger king came against the Minangkabau kingdom, their own king consulted his wise men. At their suggestion, he told the stronger king that fighting was for animals and suggested a buffalo fight. It was agreed. On the day of the fight, the stronger king’s huge, fierce buffalo was met by a calf, which the Minangkabau had starved of milk for a time and tipped its horns with sharp steel. The larger buffalo would not attack the mere calf, but when the calf looked in vain for mild beneath the buffalo, it killed the larger animal with the steel tips - a victory of the smaller buffalo on behalf of the smaller kingdom. We also see it exercised at various points in history. In Chapter 3 was described: A sultan who gained advantage over the Portuguese with his skill and knowledge of Eastern customs, avoiding full confrontation; In the 1940s, nationalist leaders who managed to create the appearance of working with the Japanese, gaining certain concessions of freedom, while using those concessions to create a resistance movement. The nationalist struggle under Sukarno also demonstrated great political skill, in defeating a superior, experienced army.

Harmony[edit | edit source]

Harmony and consensus as desirable goals are characteristic of both collectivist and feminine cultures, so it is not surprising to find them as a strong part of Indonesian (and particularly Javanese) culture. This is also a key part of being halus. The key aspects of the Indonesian value of harmony include personal harmony, consensus and conflict avoidance.

Inner harmony[edit | edit source]

The Javanese tradition emphasises continuity and order, harmony with the cosmos, inner quietness, consciousness (or awareness), self-control and ngelmu (esoteric knowledge). This carries halus connotations, particularly self-control.

Humility[edit | edit source]

In feminine countries, says Hofstede, “boys and girls learn to be nonambitious and modest. Assertive behaviour and attempts at excelling which are appreciated in masculine cultures are easily ridiculed in feminine ones. Excellence is something one keeps to oneself.” This needs some moderation for Indonesia. Attempts at excelling are respected, just as attempts at gaining Power or ngelmu, esoteric knowledge, were and are considered good and natural. (Madurese not sombong, but just not halus, louder, straightforward, aggressive – Javanese slow but sure does not apply to Madurese. Kasar from the Javanese perspective.), The important thing is that one is not proud or assertive. In Bahasa Indonesia, the words used to describe pride in oneself, carry strongly negative connotations of arrogance. But an assertive manner is kasar, coarse and undesirable. One day in 1996 in Surabaya, I watched the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games. A retired Australian athlete walked out, hands by her side, smiling to acknowledge the crowd. A retired American athlete followed, both hands in the air in a champion pose. I pointed the difference out to my Indonesian host, explaining carefully that in American culture such behaviour is normal for a champion and not arrogant, but in Australia it would be perceived as arrogant. After a thoughtful pause, Pak Daeng said quietly and gravely ‘Indonesian culture is like Australian culture.’ While my comments to my host were no doubt oversimplified, his reaction revealed the Indonesian understanding of humility and its expression.

Consensus[edit | edit source]

Also related to femininity, and a strong element of Indonesian culture, is consensus, which draws on non-assertiveness. One can’t argue with someone who is not assertive. Consensus is an old tradition – reflects the synthesis lying at the heart of Javanese culture. The Guided Democracy reflected a Sukarno’s desire for both consensus and the related Indonesian practice of authority. He wanted something more suitable to Indonesian character than the ‘liberal, free-fight, half-plus-one-majority, oppose-for-the-sake-of-opposition democracy, that caricature of real participation by the people in the act of governing.’ A system ‘based on inherent conflict’ was contrary to the Indonesian desire for consensus. Of course, a consensual approach has obvious inherent problems with lack of competition and collusion, and this can help explain historical patterns of corruption. In a high power distance culture, consensus can potentially mean that no one challenges the power-holder – and of course, this has happened throughout history, partially explaining the view of power outlined in Chapter 7 above, that the ruler has Power and wealth flows to the ruler.

Indirectness and conflict avoidance[edit | edit source]

This aspect of harmony is considered by Hofstede to be a function of collectivism. However, it is obviously related to harmony, and in describing Indonesian culture, it is best dealt with here. ‘A former Dutch missionary in Indonesia … told about his parishioners’ unexpected exegesis of the following parable from the Bible: ‘A man had two sons. He went to the first and said “Son, go and work in the vineyard today”; he replied “I will go, sir”, but he did not go. The man went to the second and said the same to him. He replied “I will not”, but afterward he changed his mind and did go. Which of the two did the will of the father?’ (St. Matthew 21:28-31; Moffatt translation). The biblical answer is ‘the last’, but the missionary’s Indonesian parishioners chose the first; for this son observed the formal harmony and did not contradict his father. Whether he actually went was of secondary importance.’ The issue of security (Section 6.2.1, above) also affects the use of indirect language - for self-preservation, words must be chosen carefully. In a collectivist culture such as Indonesia, speaking one’s mind is not always a virtue. To argue in order to resolve disagreement is undesirable. Open confrontation and even the word ‘No’ are avoided. In Indonesia, being a high power distance society, this is most pronounced in dealing with authority. In the kingdom period it was of course unacceptable to disagree with a king to his face. To relate to a king required skill – it may have simply been impossible to say ‘No’ to a king, resulting in forced duplicity. Here we may find the origins of the flexibility of the Javanese language, which is discussed further below, in Chapter 9. The pattern continued under the Dutch and Japanese, as Indonesians continued to learn circumspection in their speech. Censorship continued in a new form under Sukarno, and again under the present government. Thus, ‘Yes’ came to have its current Indonesian range of meanings – ‘Yes’, ‘Yes I understand’, ‘Yes I hear you’, ‘I don’t understand but I don’t want to offend you’, and sometimes even ‘No’. The difference is sometimes indicated by very subtle body language or intonation, as with the distinction between ‘Yes, please’ and ‘No, thanks’, which generally use exactly the same words. The underling must gain power through diplomacy. Anderson discusses a Javanese classic story which uses sexual analogy to describe the skill involved in being the one penetrated, the one of lower standing. The underling is shown to be "the master of his master". Observe Indonesian political figures in the media, especially opposition politicians, and notice the elliptical and very diplomatic way they use to express themselves - whether speaking in Indonesian or English.

Tolerance and moderation[edit | edit source]

Feminine cultures tend to be moderate and tolerant and this is true of Indonesia. Indonesian Islam, discussed Chapter 4, is different to Middle-Eastern Islam, notably in its adaptation to local culture and customs. Fundamentalism exists, but does not fit the pattern of overall Indonesian society, and is unlikely to be a major force. There is a pressure to conform, as discussed in Chapter 6, but it is a subtle, indirect pressure, and it can be resisted. Thus there is tension, but the underlying philosophy is one of tolerance.

Externality – more than meets the eye[edit | edit source]

The expression “still waters run deep” could be well applied to Indonesia, with the emphasis on harmony, conflict avoidance and politeness. The only word that has entered the English language from the Malay-Indonesian language group is amuk (amuck), meaning to run wild, in a violent frenzy. I was told more than once that Javanese people do not protest until they cannot bear it - and then they explode and become unpredictable. Even houses have masks: The front section of a home in Indonesia is usually much higher standard than the rear sections – for example with flooring, when the rest of the house has an earthen floor. The high Javanese language, used with persons of high rank, is also a mask. Feelings must generally be hidden behind a mask. The mask may be removed for personal communication, often represented by use of the low, personal language. The inscrutability of Indonesian culture to Westerners, even experts in Indonesian studies, is shown by the reaction of Anderson and Schwartz to the events of the coup. A classic joke about Indonesian politics is ‘If you understand the situation, you are obviously badly informed.’

Ethnic Variation[edit | edit source]

As stated above, within Javanese culture, Central Java (the site of ancient and powerful Hindu-Buddhist kingdoms) is regarded as the most halus and sopan area, a bastion of Javanese culture. Other Indonesian cultural groups are often more direct, expressive and less gentle than the Javanese – some are noted for their directness, such as the Bataks of North Sumatra and the Betawi (original inhabitants of the Jakarta area). The relatively aggressive Dayaks and the Madurese came into serious conflict in Kalimantan early this year, suggesting strong aspects of masculinity, while Javanese in the same area were mostly not involved in the conflict. The influence of Javanese thinking in these concepts is shown in the use of halus, ngelmu in the Indonesian language.

Summary and Implications[edit | edit source]

Harmony, through consensus and through indirectness and avoidance of conflict, is a key part of Indonesian culture. However, change is happening. Assertiveness and outspokenness are inspired by people and characters seen on television. Changes are brought about by global influence: assertiveness and outspokenness are inspired by people and characters seen on television. It may be that basic values are being challenged for the first time. However, as explained about, Indonesia is a culture of synthesis, and new influences such as this can be expected to be added, forming part of the new culture, rather than replacing the old. Indonesia’s femininity has implications for development of industries. Feminine cultures have an advantage in service industries such as consulting, transport, manufacturing according to specification, and handling live matter. Masculine cultures do things efficiently, well, fast and in large volumes – Japan is extremely masculine. However, it appears likely that the highly procedural emphasis of Indonesian culture (discussed in Chapter 9, below) may reverse this trend to some extent. “Feminine countries have a potential advantage in service industries such as consulting and transport, manufacturing according to specification, and dealing with live matter (agriculture and biochemistry).” This suggests that Indonesia is likely to need help for its big engineering dilemmas, but itself is likely to be better at human related issues of appropriate technology - especially in its own setting.

Uncertainty Avoidance - flexibility and procedures[edit | edit source]

Uncertainty avoidance’ = Ways of dealing with uncertainty, relating to the control of aggression and the expression of emotions.

Introduction[edit | edit source]

Indonesia and Australia score very closely, ranking 41st and 37th out of 53 respectively. The closeness of the figures, however, masks some very large differences. Uncertainty avoidance is “the extent to which the members of a culture feel threatened by uncertain or unknown situations.” High uncertainty avoidance societies have a need for predictability, for rules, and for order in the culture’s thought and practice. Low uncertainty avoidance societies are comfortable without these. Appendix B compares various aspects of uncertainty avoidance as described by Hofstede, and compares them with Indonesian culture. The conclusion is that in in general, Indonesian is low uncertainty avoidance but in procedural matters, Indonesia is high uncertainty avoidance.

Origins – the ‘government of man’[edit | edit source]

In examining uncertainty avoidance, Hofstede points to the historical origins of cultures. The Roman and Chinese Empires were both powerful centralised states, whose populations were accustomed to orders given from the centre of power. The Roman Empire was a ‘government by law’, with a unique set of codified laws applying to all citizens, and those countries which were once part of this empire tend to have high uncertainty avoidance. The Chinese Empire was a ‘government of man’, in which judges were supposed to be guided by broad general principles. Hofstede found that Chinese ethnicity corresponded with low to very low uncertainty avoidance. For this reason, Hofstede suggests that the presence of a significant Chinese minority in Indonesia may have contributed to the lower uncertainty avoidance, although he does not discuss other influences. While Chinese influence is likely to be a contributing factor we should consider the nature of the Indonesian kingdoms (discussed in Chapters 3 and 7, above) with their powerful rulers. A similar ‘government of man’ is most likely the primary explanation. In such a setting truth was (and sometimes still is) subservient to political and diplomatic necessity or expediency. This is consistent with descriptions of the Javanese kingdom culture. Colonial rule was also ‘government by man’, in spite of being carried out by a largely democratic, rule-by-law country.

“Rubber time” - flexibility[edit | edit source]

A concept related to gotong-royong is the more relaxed business practice and approach to life in Indonesia. Afifah (1997) emphasises flexibility and dislike for pressure as the key differences with Westerners. Westerners like to work hard, when Indonesians like to relax; Westerners like to follow rules, where Indonesians are flexible; Westerners like to start on time, Indonesians are not worried. Afifah related her experience of flexibility not being respected. A British manager/lecturer at a private educational institution in Surabaya was very strict with in applying rules regarding due dates for assignments, punctuality and checking lecture attendance for students, and punctuality and work performance with employees of the Institute. This raised a lot of complaints, because he was very offensive to the Indonesian students and staff by his direct rebukes, and caused discomfort by applying pressure. “He should accept our excuse. As long as the system can still work, we don’t have to be (apply a) strict (rule).” This may be accepted in a foreign company, but not in an Indonesian institution. Afifah agreed with his concern for rules and punctuality - she learnt this in America - but knows that such insistence is not acceptable in Indonesia. The expression jam karet, literally ‘rubber time’, summarises the Indonesian attitude to time. Punctuality is traditionally not a concern, although it often takes on greater importance in modern business practice. Activities are also less hurried. ‘We should be able to finish it in two hours, but they [Indonesians] prefer to take ten hours.’ Waiting is common in Indonesia, and is more patiently accepted than in the hectic Western world. In contrast, Westerners are perceived as always hurrying. As discussed above in section 8.5.1, historical factors made ambiguity and indirectness in language necessary. The language enables the speaker to remain enigmatic and avoid committing to anything too definite. This reflects the relaxed mindset of the speakers, and perhaps suggesting a greater willingness to live with uncertainty, or a desire to be ambiguous. In common usage of Bahasa Indonesia, words appear to cross boundaries between the parts of speech such as nouns and verbs. The ambiguities are much more pronounced in spoken than written Indonesian. Modern science is expanding into areas of less certainty – notably quantum mechanics and chaos theory – and engineering is increasingly being forced to recognise the human element of design. Computers with neural networks and ‘fuzzy logic’ do not follow strict rules. As strict modernism is left further behind, the Indonesian language and mindset may offer some advantages in such areas. Its flexibility and sensitivity are more suitable to a human element.

Synthesis - fundamental to the Indonesian culture[edit | edit source]

‘Acculturation [borrowing between cultures leading to a new blend]  is a culture-producing as well as a culture-receiving process. Acculturation, particularly when not forced, is essentially creative.’ Indonesian culture is a culture in flux, with many forces acting on it, internal and external. To understand the future directions of the culture, and their implications for stability, management and development, we must understand the way in which Indonesian culture deals with change. The culture has developed in multiple layers, enabling it to adopt the new without fundamental inner change – there is an ability to absorb cultural influences from outside while still preserving its own identity. We see the influence of animism, Hinduism and Buddhism on customs even after Islam has gained dominance. Islamic values are combined with Javanese traditions, and the result is considered acceptable to both. The key is Indonesian interpretation of foreign influences. The synthesis can be seen everywhere today in superficial ways. The foreigner will notice the dichotomy of women in Muslim dress riding motorbikes - but of course, the dichotomy is in the mind of the Westerner, not in the mind of the Indonesian. In modern Balinese paintings depicting legendary battles from ages past, characters can be seen wearing wristwatches. This embracing of synthesis, of ideas that at face value are incompatible, requires a low uncertainty avoidance. There are two motives for this synthesis:

  • Foreign influences must be modified to an acceptable form.
  • In the Javanese kingdoms, destruction of an enemy was less desirable than absorption, ‘which in practice involves diplomatic pressure, and other halus methods of inducing recognition of superiority or suzerainty.’ Here, synthesis is part of the halus expression of power.

Synthesis and modernism[edit | edit source]

Introduction to foreign cultures is not a new thing to Indonesia. Early traders are believed to have travelled as far as East Africa (Section 3.1). The Indonesian language records and reflects the earliest effects of globalisation, predating even the colonial era - influences include Arabic, Sanskrit, European languages including Dutch and English, as well as indigenous languages. However, Western influence has occurred slightly differently, with conflict and Indonesian reticence and suspicion. The Dutch language and its usage reflected European thought, and the educated Indonesians who learnt Dutch experienced a chasm in worldview, a two-mindedness with powerful potential to be destructive or creative. Modern Indonesians have a high level of exposure to media, with televisions being very common even among poor families, and foreign shortwave radio broadcasts in Bahasa Indonesia, especially Radio Australia and BBC. In spite of historical reticence about Europeans, Indonesia has been enthusiastic about technical advancement, reflecting the Modernist influence in Indonesian Islam. Indonesia is absorbing technology and Western ideas, but in a distinctly Indonesian way. There has been a modern revolution in terms of global influences, but Indonesian culture has an ability to absorb without fundamental change. In any case, synthesis is creative, and even if the changes happening today are the greatest in history, they will not simply turn Indonesia into the West. The effect of millennia of foreign influence in Indonesia is synthesis, the combining of new and old, foreign and customary, to form something new, and yet not changed at a deeper level.

Procedural Emphasis – the effect of security concerns[edit | edit source]

We have seen, in section 4.2, the development of bureaucracy in Indonesia. Anderson describes the underlying cultural process: “The Dutch obsession with detail, rule and rank, categorization and classification, accorded well with the Javanese priyayi love of fussy protocol and elaborate hierarchies.  the mutuality became quite close.” Drew and Jasper both observed that Indonesians they had worked in structural engineering and water infrastructure were process oriented rather than object oriented, that the procedure mattered more important than the result. There is a tendency to use standard designs, whether a public works standards, or a previous design. If Jasper suggested other approaches, the response was ‘The only way I get paid is if I do it exactly according to the schedule.’ Consider Hofstede’s ‘government of man’, mentioned above in Section 9.2. The kingdoms and the colonial rule were government by man. Consider in particular: The Dutch rule, especially the Ethical policy (Section 4.3.1, above) was an influence on Indonesian culture, discouraging initiative - ‘the villager cannot even scratch his head, unless an expert shows him how to do it and the sub-district officer gives him permission.’ Consistent with the ‘government of man’, Supriadi explained that the application of a rule depend upon who holds power. Thus, even in being procedural and rule-oriented, the underlying motivation is people and relationship-based rather than rule-based. Thus, the ‘government of man’ which leads to low uncertainty avoidance also leads to conformity to procedures, partly by virtue of the proximity to the people of the local ruler and his representatives. The origin helps us understand better the apparent discrepancies - laws in themselves are not greatly respected in Indonesia (road rules are a case in point), but the powerful culture of the kingdom means that cultural observations are respected, as are activities for which one is responsible to the superior. So far this sounds quite strange to the Western mind. How can a culture characterised by flexibility be so rigid in procedures in the workplace and the bureaucracy? Afifah, who strongly emphasised the centrality of flexibility when we spoke of Indonesian culture, insisted that rules are not natural for Indonesians, and explained bureaucratic rules as due to security concerns. This is consistent with the strong concern for security discussed above in relation to collectivism. In the beginning of the present discussion of procedure, the reactions of those engineers who appeared unable to think critically or take initiative, was largely a reaction to fear of consequences. With such a high view of power, and the expectation of conformity, this is understandable. How does this explain rigidity in work procedures, rather than just political activity? One explanation, in the light of high power distance and conformity, is that ‘security’ is not simply a function of the political situation, but is found throughout Indonesian society. The power holder must maintain their power as well as harmony, so criticism cannot be tolerated. Doing things differently threatens the harmony. Understood in this way, concern for security is not simply a political phenomenon, but a broader social phenomenon. In this context, failing to follow design procedures has the potential to disrupt the important harmony and power balances. In a culture that requires conformity, failing through breaking accepted practice would be a natural fear. Failing through following accepted practice, however, is less of a problem. Thus security concerns work both downwards from the leader, and upwards from the underling who is at risk when breaking an established pattern.

Discussion and Conclusions[edit | edit source]

Although Indonesia’s uncertainty avoidance rated moderately low in Hofstede’s studies, it is actually not moderate. This is not because of differing ethnic groups (although that may play some part) but rather because the characteristics of uncertainty avoidance have been split in Indonesian culture, with concern for security causing a procedural emphasis, contrary to the flexibility at the heart of the culture. Hofstede’s although his insights on uncertainty avoidance are at useful, but the framework requires heavy modification for application to Indonesia. An observation by Jasper is instructive: structural engineers are the most advanced engineers, he said, because of the amount of construction experience in Indonesia, and water treatment engineers are also often very good. This suggests that the experience of practising technical skills is likely to affect the particular branch of technical expertise, and by diffusion, the culture as a whole over time.

Corresponding strengths[edit | edit source]

It is not possible to reach strong conclusions here regarding strengths and weaknesses due to the dichotomy described above. However, noting that the high uncertainty avoidance relates to procedures (rather than relationships), production industries that rely on attention to procedure are may do well in Indonesia. There will be an advantage to having those with more flexible thinking unrestricted by conformity and more innovative, having leadership and design roles. This synergy is discussed by Hofstede…

‘There is a strong case here for synergy between innovating [low uncertainty avoidance] and implementing [ high uncertainty avoidance] cultures, the first supplying ideas, the second developing them further.’  In Indonesian culture there is an aspect of both. The split between flexibility and procedural emphasis has the potential for the worst of both worlds (lack of creativity, lack of discipline) or a dynamic combination (acceptance of innovation and attention to procedure). The reason proposed here for the split is the high security consciousness in Indonesian culture. 

If some are able to break the mould of conformity and excessive procedure – such as through exposure to low uncertainty avoidance Western education – the potential for creativity could be promising, and could create the desirable synergy.

“Yes, Father” - Organisational culture in Indonesia[edit | edit source]

Introduction[edit | edit source]

The general discussion of history and culture above prepares us to more specifically examine organisational culture. We continue to focus on the Javanese culture, which has a particularly strong influence in work and organisational settings, due to Javanese dominance of institutions. Even Chinese-owned businesses often have Javanese managers. History has had its effect - institutional problems are “most serious in countries whose traditional institutional frameworks were destroyed during the periods of colonization and decolonization” Indonesia’s frameworks were subsumed into the Dutch framework and Dutch interests. The nation was not being prepared for independence, and has had to catch up rapidly. Key influences on organisational culture among those cultural factors discussed above are: a strong personal aspect to business dealings; high view of power; harmony and consensus, which is often in practice an agreement with the leader; flexibility in most matters; a concern for procedures. The emphasis on relationships rather than tasks means that we can expect stronger relationships with peers and superiors, and a sense of belonging. A secretary had been fired from an engineering office, but continued coming to work, in spite of orders to the contrary, until she found another job. In a collectivist society subordinates should be managed as part of a work group; not split or moved apart; and incentives and bonuses should be given to the group, not individuals.’ Having a high power distance means that power differences in the workplace are not merely a hierarchy of roles among people who are existentially equal. The difference in status between subordinate and superior is expected, and very real in the Indonesian understanding. Seniority is important, as well as superiority It is not automatic that promotion should be based on competence. The less aggressive and ambitious nature of feminine society should be expected to make a significant difference to the work environment. ‘The manager in a feminine culture is less visible, intuitive rather than decisive, and accustomed to seeking consensus.’ Of course, the application of this is affected by other factors including power distance, so that consensus may be reflected more in style than reality. The flexibility that is encountered in Indonesian organisations is described by Afifah’s story of the British manager in (Chapter 9) – timing, in particular, is not a major issue. The ‘government of man’ style of leadership extends to the workplace, where pleasing the boss is more important than laws. In spite of this, procedure is a major issue. While an activity may not need to be on time, it must be done according to procedure. Managers focus on daily operations, rather than strategic planning, consistent with the procedural emphasis. Security concerns are also evident in the workplace. As discussed above in section 9.5, following procedures is often a form of protection against the consequences of making a mistake. Restriction of freedom and creativity and bureaucracy are the result.

Paternalism - Cultural Models of Management[edit | edit source]

As a result of these factors, we can expect a style of management that emphasises the inherent authority of the power holder, limits the ability to question authority or act on personal initiative. This describes a paternalistic framework, the subject of section 3.1. ‘We love him… You may find this hard to understand, after all that has happened. But he is our father and, with all his faults, we love him.’ – expression of loyalty to Sukarno described by one of his ministers in 1966. The word bapakism, from the Indonesian word for ‘father’, is often used specifically in relation to the early military situations of independent Indonesia. In the 1950s ‘(m)any …[military] officers were bapakist …they had built up a paternal relationship with their men which gave them semi-independent bases of power’, and this posed a threat to the unity – the security – of the nation at large. It is because of the security problems perceived in paternalism that district administrators are moved around, to avoid making such strong attachments – this dates from the Javanese kingdoms, and is still practised by today’s government. A common Indonesian phrase is ‘Asal Bapak senang’, often shortened to ‘ABS’, which roughly means ‘As long as the boss is happy’. English cannot capture the connotations, however – Bapak literally means father, which describes the relationship of loyalty between superior and subordinate that is normal in work situations. The subordinate’s main priority is to make his boss happy. Whether that is by working hard or just presenting the positive a positive image is not the main point. The work setting is defined in terms of relationship, particularly that with the boss.

Hofstede’s models: The pyramid, machine, market and family[edit | edit source]

Hofstede describes models of management naturally adopted in different cultures, and their dependence on uncertainty avoidance and power distance in a society, describing a clear pattern:

Low uncertainty avoidance High uncertainty avoidance High power distance The Family The Pyramid Low power distance The Market The Machine

Low uncertainty avoidance High uncertainty avoidance
High power distance The Family The Pyramid
Low power distance The Market The Machine

Thus Indonesia is predicted to follow ‘the family’. This also corresponds with the ‘government of man’ described by Hofstede and discussed above. The four terms are best explained by means of a case study: In an examination given to MBA students in Europe, they were asked to respond to a scenario of conflict between two department heads in the same company. French, German and English students offered different responses to the same scenario, but were consistent within their nationality groups:

Nationality Power Distance Index Uncertainty Avoidance Index Typical response and corresponding management model French High (68) High (86) The pyramid. Greater intervention by general manager, conflict solved through GM’s decisions. German Low (35) High (65) The (well-oiled) machine. Need proper, clearly defined structure, and establishment of proper procedures. British Low (35) Low (35) The market. Case diagnosed as a human relations problem. Start by sending conflicting managers on a management course together. Ad hoc approach: demands of the situation (rather than rules or hierarchy) determine outcome.

Nationality Power Distance Index Uncertainty Avoidance Index Typical response and corresponding management model
French High (68) High (86) The pyramid. Greater intervention by general manager, conflict solved through GM’s decisions.
German Low (35) High (65) The (well-oiled) machine. Need proper, clearly defined structure, and establishment of proper procedures.
British Low (35) Low (35) The market. Case diagnosed as a human relations problem. Start by sending conflicting managers on a management course together. Ad hoc approach: demands of the situation (rather than rules or hierarchy) determine outcome.

From further research, Hofstede concluded that the fourth quadrant – corresponding to Indonesia, other Asian and African countries – could be described as the family, in which the manager is the omnipotent father or grandfather. This does seem to accord with Indonesian relationships, and especially authority relationships. I tested this with Indonesian postgraduate students studying at Sydney University, using Hofstede’s described management scenario. Four responded, and their answers included thoughts reflecting various aspects of Indonesian culture, such as peace and harmony, and the pre-eminence of the company (the group) - discussed in the previous chapters. Three of the interviewees spoke of consensus, mutually working out the best option with the aid of a superior. One (who had already drawn a conclusion as to the solution to the specific case study) spoke of the general manager leading persuasively and firmly but gently, and described a rather diplomatic and indirect method of achieving this.However, there was one common factor between all four responses: All specified the need for another person, external and superior, in the resolution – not a pyramid style resolution, but in a mediating or coordinating role.

The case study in question dealt with a matter of conflict more than procedure. For the matter of process in the management models, we may turn to a more detailed study by Mintzberg, described by Hofstede. One component of Mintzberg’s model is mechanism of coordinating activities, which correspond to the given management patterns as follows:

Low uncertainty avoidance High uncertainty avoidance High power distance The Family Direct supervision. The Pyramid Standardisation of work processes. Low power distance The Market Mutual adjustment. The Machine Standardisation of skills.

Low uncertainty avoidance High uncertainty avoidance
High power distance The Family

Direct supervision. || The Pyramid Standardisation of work processes.

Low power distance The Market

Mutual adjustment. || The Machine Standardisation of skills.

From our previous examination of procedural emphasis, it is clear that that the pyramid structure reflects Indonesian practice with respect to processes – ‘standardisation of work practices’. Our preliminary conclusion is as follows. Nationality Power Distance Index Uncertainty Avoidance Index Typical response and corresponding management model Indonesia High (78) Moderately low (48) (predominantly low, with high uncertainty avoidance features in procedural matters.) The Family, or Bapakism. Need for another person, with authority, to act as mediator or coordinator; but processes are standardised in the workplace.

Nationality Power Distance Index Uncertainty Avoidance Index Typical response and corresponding management model
Indonesia High (78) Moderately low (48) (predominantly low, with high uncertainty avoidance features in procedural matters.) The Family, or Bapakism. Need for another person, with authority, to act as mediator or coordinator;

but processes are standardised in the workplace.

Management theories and cross-cultural management assistance/development[edit | edit source]

Management theories have rarely accounted for differences in culture. Hofstede discusses the work of writers on management - sometimes amusing accounts of how their struggles to understand different contexts without accounting for the culture. Modern management models are often based on imitating the success of another nation – the USA earlier this century, then Japan and Sweden. Applied in a different culture, the theories are likely to fail. A classic example is Karl Marx, from a low power distance society (Germany) – his ideas have primarily been implemented in high power distance countries. In contrast, the implication of the discussion above imply is that management experience in countries with ‘family’ based cultures and management structures will be more relevant to Indonesia than those with pyramid structures. Within the ‘family’ quadrant, Hofstede more specifically groups Indonesia with India, Malaysia and the Philippines - he does not explain this, but it is noteworthy that there is a strong historical and cultural linkage between all of these countries. These societies, then, and to a lesser extent ethnic Chinese and African societies, may be best equipped to offer insight into management for the Indonesian context. Australia would fit the market model, similarly to Great Britain, based on its uncertainty avoidance and power distance indices, paying much less attention to authority. The flexibility of such an approach is not unusual to Indonesian culture, but the lack of hierarchy or emphasis on loyalty may be alien to Indonesians.

Nature of authority[edit | edit source]

The view of power and the exercise of power discussed in the previous chapters means that while there is a high respect shown for the paternal figure, Considering Indonesian as high uncertainty avoidance in relation to rules and procedures, we see that rules are more sacred, but less respected. The security issues of Indonesian society extend as far as someone can or will be held accountable to a superior, such as in a bureaucracy, or publicly criticising a superior. In other situations – such as driving or disposing of waste – there is less accountability in practice, and so rules do not apply the same way. Thus, the Bapak may have power, but not necessarily to influence the private actions of one under his authority.

Leadership, business and admin skills[edit | edit source]

Legge p160 "Both under the Dutch and since… [the Javanese] have been associated with government and administration, and their social ethic has reflected the bureaucratic cast of their own society, making them unsympathetic toward the commercial outlook of entrepreneurs in the outer islands."

Entrepreneurial and leadership skills[edit | edit source]

The influences of history on leadership skills in Indonesia have been discussed in Chapter 4. The lack of entrepreneurial ability is widespread after centuries of Dutch influence, which took away the right to exercise such ability. This is much more the case in the Javanese culture, which descends largely from rice-based kingdoms with less involvement in trade, and were under the Dutch control for much longer, whereas the outer islands were more heavily trade-based and experienced less complete colonial control for a shorter period of time. This is a development issue – development requires initiative. In his discussion of entrepreneurship in a Javanese town, Geertz states that “the central problems the leaders in development ... face are organizational. …It is the ability and originality to organize a range of diverse economic activities into a unified institution - store or small factory - that most distinguishes … [an] entrepreneur from his non-innovative bazaar fellows, not wealth, not education, or even drive” A procedural approach to leadership was also seen in Sukarno. However, leadership requires more than procedure and ceremony. As with all cultures, there is a sometimes a need to break old patterns. Suharto’s change in management compared with Sukarno, and its corresponding success, demonstrates this.

Procedure and administration –Indonesian Bureaucracy[edit | edit source]

“The Dutch obsession with detail, rule and rank, categorization and classification, accorded well with the Javanese priyayi love of fussy protocol and elaborate hierarchies the mutuality became quite close.” Bureaucracy is a notable characteristic of Indonesia today. In some large stores the customer must go through three people at three different counters in order to buy an item, even for a Rp100 ($A0.06) item. I found this puzzling, until an Indonesian friend explained that it was to prevent staff from stealing or allowing friends or relatives not to pay. That is, it is a private business version of security. The sense of procedure described above translates into a strong regime of paperwork and formality in bureaucracy. There is a felt need to make reports just in case something goes wrong. Also, as discussed above, if the procedures are followed, no one will get in trouble. Mehmet attributes part of the delay of the bureaucracy to deliberate acts of corruption (although he does not discuss matters of procedure and inefficiency) and this explanation must always be considered.

Change[edit | edit source]

Increasing competence is an essential for continued long-term development in Indonesia, and this requires human resource development, particularly education. However, the extent to which change will come through education is dependent largely on the nature of the education – education in a procedural setting cannot teach anything other than a procedural approach to study and work. Afifah says that a graduate of an Indonesian university is usually not yet equipped to work, as they have not learnt to think critically. Indonesia is undergoing huge change due to such forces as education. Particularly those who study overseas, but also other thinking university students, are exposed to new ways of thinking, and express enthusiasm for change. Whether they settle into the established patterns of their forebears, or hold to their convictions will be seen in time – it seems reasonable to say that there will be a mixture of the two, reflecting the two opposing influences.

Diplomacy and personal contacts[edit | edit source]

In a collectivist, feminine society, relationships are very important, including in matters of development. Dharmanto described working with the ‘little king’ – one must win his heart, then win the heart of the people. It is harder to be strictly ‘business-like’ in (collectivist) Indonesia. Indonesians do not have the Western dichotomy of business versus personal relationships. Before I left to do research in Surabaya (East Java) in June 1996, an Indonesian friend suggested that I would need to apply for permission before doing research. I wrote to the mayor of the city before I left, wording the letter very carefully in Bahasa Indonesia with the help of another Indonesian friend. Once in Surabaya, I thought no more of the letter until I approached PDAM, the drinking water corporation. There, I appeared to strike a brick wall - I was taken to an administration official, and it became obvious that I would have to go through what appeared to me to be annoying and unnecessary red tape before being able to do any research. The first step was writing a letter to the head of PDAM, asking permission to interview, and I mentioned in passing that I had already written such a letter to the mayor. The official disappeared into another room, and re-emerged with a copy of that letter, forwarded from the Mayor’s office. From that moment everything changed. The official (who had been quite confused as to my intentions, I discovered later) now understood my intentions exactly, and had received notice of my arrival from the office of the mayor.. While there was still a concern for procedure that was a little foreign to me, that was a minor affair, and the same official became a great help in my research, acting as guide, contact and sometimes translator, as well as a friend. The concern for security also leads to greater importance for diplomacy. Anderson found that allegations against the government in a leaked document caused him to be barred from Indonesia. Miles Kupa, the proposed Australian ambassador to Jakarta, had similar problems comments he made about the Suharto family led to him being rejected as Australian ambassador to Jakarta. Personal contact is important even at the highest levels. The value of skilled diplomats is shown in the Australian foreign minister’s payment of $13,000 for the services of former diplomat Richard Woolcott for four days’ work, because of his “special knowledge of Indonesia and impeccable contacts”.

Corruption[edit | edit source]

Accusations of corruption in Indonesia are serious. Mehmet is particularly accusing, estimating top-level officials receiving hundreds of thousands, or even millions of dollars each during the 1990-91 fiscal year, and deliberately causing delays in the bureaucracy in order to maximise these gains. I was told (by a trusted source) of a university researcher having to sign for twice the money he actually received, losing half, or around $A10,000 of his research money to corrupt officials. Their power is derived largely from their small number, so even with high rents being claimed, if Mehmet is correct in his claims of corruption, the more serious problem may be resulting delays and inefficiencies. Indices have suggested Indonesia to be one of the most corrupt nations and most, including the government, at least agree that corruption is widespread,. Colonialism could be mentioned as an influence on corruption – an environment of exploitation could hardly have been conducive to stamping out corruption. The end result is that Indonesians are so widely exposed to corruption that they are accustomed to it, and, according to a Commission of Four in 1970, do not even know what is wrong. According to Anderson’s understanding of power, corruption is a traditional part of the Javanese court, allowed from above as it increased the importance of one’s superiors, and the necessity of protecting them. The ruler is at the centre and benefits depend on one’s relationship with him and closeness to him. Anderson’s views are very influential, but they are rejected and called ‘cultural relativism’ by Hadiz (1996), who argues that acceptance of corruption is more related to a feeling of helplessness than toleration. Hadiz does not argue his point thoroughly, but one can often detect a feeling of helplessness when Indonesians speak of corruption and the use and abuse of power. However, there is an extent to which the god-king is beyond normal critique, as is seen by Sukarno’s popularity, and acceptance of his sexual infidelity. A high power distance and a high collectivism mean that an Indonesian is more susceptible to pressure from authority and from his/her social groups. Paternalism and the micro-level ‘government of man’ mean that the one in authority has tremendous power to grant or not grant the official permit needed for so many aspects of business in Indonesia. This can potentially be used as leverage for corruption, and the view of power held by Indonesian society leaves few options for the one being exploited. Mehmet examines the power and the corruption of high-ranking officials this and its implications for corruption. There is an inherent ambiguity in common dealings. Afifah describes how one deals with the person, rather than just a company representative. Thus, it is normal to give a gift. In Australia “It is your job to give me the information,” but this is not so in Indonesia. Afifah recalls how her father told her “You are dealing with a person who has a heart, who has feelings. They will be happier if we pay more attention to them, by giving a gift.” This is considered reasonable, especially with government employees who are very poorly paid. This is not necessarily meant to pervert justice, but the ambiguity that pervades Indonesian culture can be used as a negotiating technique for personal gain, and Mehmet insists that it is. Corruption obviously has an impact on development, adding costs and delays at high and low levels. The presence of corruption may detract from the attractiveness of investment in Indonesia. The World bank carries out checks on corruption in relation to its projects, and such action is very prudent, to prevent the possibility of being subject to extortion and manipulation through delays. The importance of relationships and personal contacts to the foreigner is also highlighted here, because they can make it possible to bypass problems, or find out what the problem is – which can potentially be very difficult for a foreigner to understand. A resulting problem is that procedures to prevent corruption cause delays, as discussed above in section.

Changes in organisational culture[edit | edit source]

Understanding the history and culture will allow change to be more directed and planned. There is a need for both power and expertise: In attempting to change organisational culture, even in different national cultures it is important to have the two roles of “power holder” - someone with charisma as well as administrative skills and an “expert” - to diagnose and choose the right therapy. Perhaps the best example of this is Suharto and his technocrats (see above, Chapter 4). Change must be deeper than symbols and slogans. Need “changes at the deeper levels of heroes, rituals, and the values of key leaders…Culture change in an organization needs persistence and sustained attention by the (power holder)” The paternalistic model of management is not always good or always bad, just as Western models have their strengths and weaknesses. However, it does place more responsibility on the leader, and so is dependent on whether the leader is good or bad. As Geertz emphasised the need for an educated elite, so the particular strength of the paternalistic culture shows that the elite who take on the role of leadership must be especially capable and responsible if they are to live up to their role in development.

Part 4 – WATER, WASTEWATER AND SANITATION[edit | edit source]

According to a United Nations source, ‘dirty water causes 80 percent of diseases in the developing world, and kills 10 million people annually.’

Water, industrial wastewater and sanitation - the context[edit | edit source]

Introduction[edit | edit source]

Rivers throughout Indonesia are visibly polluted. In most places they are a deep brown colour, from a combination of the natural suspended sediment load and pollution. In Jakarta they are often black. Pollution is caused by the many factories discharging waste into rivers and the high levels of sewage pollution. Water treatment plants often draw their water from these rivers. After processing, it is frequently judged to be fit to drink without boiling - quite an achievement - but is contaminated after passing through the pipe system. The pipe system is underpressurised due to high demand relative to supply, and due to the practice of attaching pumps to water outlets to draw out greater quantities of water (often for resale) allowing polluted groundwater to enter and mix with the high-quality water, contaminating it. It is common practice for Indonesians, across Indonesia, not to drink any water, which has not been boiled. It is not surprising that under the Dutch, ‘(w)hat little expenditure was devoted to urban amenities in Batavia [Jakarta] was directed toward the places where the Europeans lived and worked.’ Even the Kampung Improvement Program, begun in Jakarta in 1969, emphasised roads and paths rather than sanitation and clean water. Even by 1980, with a population of 6.5 million and improving living standards even for the poor, dealing with water and waste was primarily left to the inhabitants. Today, ‘Indonesia spends less than one half of one percent of its GDP on its urban infrastructure, by far the lowest percentage in Asia.’ This is a side effect of the economic focus on business and profitable expenditure, which has assisted growth so consistently. In urban Indonesia today, it is estimated that around 65% of the population have adequate water, and 40% have adequate sanitation. However, aside from the accuracy of the figures, there is the question of what defines ‘adequate’. Unaccounted for water (including illegal connections) in Jakarta accounts for 57 percent of piped water and the figures are also high in other Indonesian cities. Leakage and other forms of loss are common worldwide, but are particularly critical in Indonesia due to the severe shortage of water.

Quantity and Quality[edit | edit source]

When Indonesian engineers in the water sector are asked what the biggest issues are in regard to water management, the answer is always the same: capacity. This reflects a worldwide pattern: ‘Most cities in the developing world will face extreme water shortages by the year 2010, threatening the life and health of inhabitants’.’ Also, there is the issue of quality. According to the United Nations, ‘dirty water causes 80 percent of diseases in the developing world, and kills 10 million people annually.’ To be more precise, then, the need is for an adequate supply of clean water. However, the need for quality cannot be separated from the need for sheer quantity, as it is the shortage of clean water sources that drives people to use inferior sources. How clean is ‘clean’? It is sometimes suggested that quantity be increased at the expense of quality, as water is boiled before drinking, anyway. To determine what constitutes adequate water quality and to assess this proposal, we will examine, below, typical domestic water practices in Indonesia, and the level of risk posed by exposure to contaminated water. All World Bank urban development programs have a water distribution component, considering the process from raw water, through treatment, and distribution, to the household connection . Water is a critical need, as is its necessary partner, wastewater management. The question is – how will it be supplied? Water is a basic human need - this is why cities are situated by watercourses. Population growth and industrialisation is putting enormous strains on these resources. In the cities of Indonesia, and around the world, the challenge is the scarcity of water today and the potentially greater scarcity tomorrow, as populations continue to grow.

Domestic water practices[edit | edit source]

I have come across no written discussion of differing modes of water use, in spite of searching widely. The following record of practices is based largely on my own observations when in Java and the adjacent islands of Madura and Bali, and has been verified by Indonesians from different parts of Indonesia. Indonesians value cleanliness (in keeping with their emphasis on halus, refined qualities) and so have a water consumptive culture. They have a significant degree of contact with water, which is contaminated and unboiled, including the consumption of small amounts through washed fruit vegetables, and as part of hygiene functions in rinsing the mouth. Even when drinking water is boiled, it may not have been exposed to sufficient heat for a sufficient length of time for thorough disinfection.

Drinking water[edit | edit source]

Drinking water is generally obtained by

  1. PDAM/PAM water delivered by pipe to the house or neighbourhood.
  2. PDAM/PAM water resold by vendors at several times the price. The nominal fixed price is $A0.18/m3, three times the $A0.05/m3 charged to the public hydrant owners, but the actual vendor’s price may be twice this. The price paid by the poorest is generally higher than that paid by the wealthy, and it is high enough to restrict water use and add to financial pressure.
  3. Groundwater from private wells. This depends on the aesthetics of the water, and the financial position of the user.
  4. High quality, locally produced bottled water can be seen in many shops, but is generally used by middle to upper class people, due to its expense.

Water for drinking is boiled before use (with the exception of bottled water). Without exception in my own research, the water is brought to the boil, then removed from the heat rather than being allowed to continue boiling for 10 or more minutes, as required to provide thorough disinfection. However, the water is most often allowed to cool in a large kettle, and the slow rate of cooling of a large pot in a tropical climate (especially when a lid is used) may allow a sufficient length of time at high temperature to boost disinfection.

Contact with contaminated water[edit | edit source]

People come into contact with contaminated water through a number of different practices. Boiled water is considered necessary only for drinking. In the descriptions below, ‘unboiled water’ may refer to PDAM water or groundwater, depending on the household. Indonesians typically rinse their mouths when bathing, using unboiled water as the water is not swallowed. Teeth are brushed using unboiled water. Unboiled water is standard for washing fruit and vegetables when consumed raw. Ice is made in factories, and unlikely to be boiled. However, if the factory is close to the local water treatment plant, with good pipes, the risk to many people will be reduced. Plates and clothes are washed in unboiled water – sometimes washed in well water first, then rinsed with PDAM water. Indonesians typically bathe (mandi) by using a small bucket to take water from a basin and splash it over themselves. This may be PDAM water or well water, depending on groundwater quality and wealth of the family. Poorer people sometimes bathe in the heavily polluted rivers, unless they have a well to share. It is common to see a person defecating into a river a short distance upstream of another person washing their clothes or preparing bathing. Of course, it is difficult to change such practices when the person has no other available amenities. Anal cleansing after using the toilet is generally performed by splashing the anus with water. From these observations, and knowing the contamination found in water supplies, many people even with adequate water and sanitation according to the terms of the estimates would benefit significantly from improvement in quality of available water, and particularly reduction in faecal contamination.

Changes in practice[edit | edit source]

As wealth increases, use of different practices and equipment is likely. More wasteful Western style showers are a possibility, and seat-style toilets (instead of squat toilets) are becoming more common, but they commonly have a deeper S-bend (to suit the Western automated flush) and thus require more water to flush. To prevent precious water being wasted on luxuries by those who can afford to, the only option may be to regulate the sale of water and plumbing equipment, allowing only water-efficient designs. The inefficiencies of the Indonesian bureaucracy and the ineffectiveness of the legal system may mean that the order must be enforced by other means. This may be by public awareness and opposition to breaches by retailers selling the offending items, or by intervention by a high level of authority, giving the order and ensuring implementation. Efforts are being made to raise environmental awareness. Riding a bemo (public minibus) one will see a sign inside: ‘Observe Cleanliness’. Signs by the road side declare ‘Bali - Clean, Safe, Protected and Beautiful’, or ‘My Surabaya - clean and green.’ People have an increased environmental awareness, but facilities to practice it are still insufficient. One of the recommendations of a national environmental conference in October 1996 was ‘the proposal to make environmental education part of the national curriculum from elementary to university level.’ There have been steps taken to establish study centres in universities across Indonesia. The government of Indonesia has initiated a program to establish Environmental Studies Centres (ESCs) in 18 universities across Indonesia, helping to build greater capacity to manage environmental matters. As with the majority of cultures, women generally take the greatest role in provision and use of water in the home, and know most about sources (quality, reliability, restrictions, advantages and other practical aspects of use) and are in the best position to report on any water system and take a role in its design and maintenance.

General resources – land, labour and capital[edit | edit source]

The extreme population densities of Indonesian cities result in very high urban land cost, meaning that space-efficiency is an important consideration for treatment technologies. Favoured options might include processes that can be fully enclosed, allowing usage of space above them. The Institute of Technology Surabaya (ITS) is involved with researching roughing filters for drinking water pretreatment, suitable for highly eutrophic, highly turbid waters, which can also be fully enclosed. Slow sand filters are popular forms of ‘appropriate technology’, but their large area rules them out. Rate-increasing modifications are possible, but not to the degree required for urban use. Another option may be to place treatment facilities out of town, also allowing cleaner river water to be drawn, but the cost of piping may be inhibiting factor. Form must follow function, and the design of infrastructure must be impacted by the manner in which it will be constructed and operated. The low labour cost relative to capital costs has been discussed in Chapter 4. The lower education level and shortage of technical skills have also been discussed in Chapter 4. The advantage of the city is that there is a greater concentration of technically skilled workers, but there is still a shortfall of skilled labour that suggests the need for designs which have less need for in design, construction and operation. On the other hand, high labour levels in maintenance are not a problem.

Wastewater[edit | edit source]

Most human waste passes untreated into the watercourses of Indonesia’s cities. It is unclear how effective typical septic tanks are, but greywater makes up more than half of the load of biochemical oxygen demand (BOD), and usually receives no attempt at treatment. Each of these sources of pollution contributes to heavy contamination of all water sources in urban areas.

Sanitation[edit | edit source]

Toilets are most often flushed by pouring a bucket of water (the lowest quality available, often groundwater). The poor, having no other facilities, often defecate directly into the river, by squatting in the water or using helikopter toilets suspended over the water. Septic tanks are the common form of sewage treatment, but are often not maintained and thus ineffective, resulting in highly polluted overflow, contaminating the groundwater. The very high population densities make for a high degree of contamination. The rule of thumb sometimes used of keeping wells ten metres from any septic tank is literally impossible in most urban areas. Where there are no septic tanks, waste is discharged untreated into a watercourse. Sewered areas are very rare, largely restricted to areas of Dutch habitation during the colonial era.

Domestic Greywater[edit | edit source]

Greywater is the general household wastewater, from bathing, cleaning clothes and floors (the dusty environment from unsealed roads means that floors are often cleaned every day), and some kitchen waste. It is discharged directly into the drains (usually open) that run along every street and alley. It has been estimated that 62% of an Indonesian household’s BOD (?) comes from greywater. Even if a septic tanks is effective – and it is likely that they are not - they do not deal with the greywater. The drains through which greywater runs are not always sealed, allowing seepage into the ground, further contaminating the groundwater.

Industrial wastewater[edit | edit source]

Rivers are often used as the dumping ground for untreated waste. Measures are being taken to stop this practice, with some success, but rivers are still extremely polluted. The mud of the beaches of Surabaya, near the outlet of the Surabaya River (Kali Surabaya) has registered the highest level of mercury recorded worldwide, by a factor of almost three. Early pathological effects have been detected in residents who regularly eat seafood.

Other pollution sources[edit | edit source]

Garbage collection for high populations with low incomes is very difficult, and as a result, garbage is often left on the ground for long periods. This can only add to groundwater pollution as the regular tropical rain leaches through it. Even worse, garbage is regularly dumped into the watercourses.

Relative seriousness[edit | edit source]

The most critical form of pollution is faecal pollution, which has the potential to spread virulent disease and cause high death rates, along with the BOD source of greywater, which allows pathogens to survive and grow in the water. It is sometimes pointed out that human waste makes up the majority of pollution in Jakarta’s/Indonesia’s rivers. However, wastewater often contains more refractory substances such as heavy metals, … and these remain in sediment long after the sewage has passed. While the particles that carry heavy metals may be removed in water treatment, the pollution has very serious effects on the environment, including fishing industries and consumers of seafood. “A 1994 report of the (PROKASIH) program showed a considerable success in reducing the pollution load, but the improved quality of 27 rivers was not obvious as industry was not the only source of pollution to rivers.” (Soesono.doc) Although sewage is more obvious and aesthetically undesirable, experiences in Surabaya with extreme heavy metal pollution demonstrate that a very serious component of pollution may not be the most obvious.

Water sources[edit | edit source]

The key water management issue facing Indonesian cities is water supply capacity. Cities have grown up around water sources, especially rivers, but by now most have outgrown them. Many rivers remote from urban centres carry large volumes of water directly to the ocean.

Rivers[edit | edit source]

The localised pressure on resources, high levels of pollution co-existing with high demand for drinking water, means that highly polluted river water is used as source water for water treatment plants, a partial form of wastewater recycling. Typical Indonesian river water is:

  • Naturally heavy in silt, especially in the rainy season.
  • Heavily polluted in urban areas, carrying high nutrient loads and faecal bacteria as well as industrial waste.
  • Abundant due to the high rainfall, but most flows to sea, and has a large seasonal variation flow.

Groundwater[edit | edit source]

Well over half of wells in Jakarta show evidence of faecal contamination, and a survey has found mercury contamination in some wells. Examining the literature more broadly, one may find occasional references to, for example, chromium contamination in Surabaya wells. ‘(M)any of the aquifers in Java’s rapidly growing urban centers are already suffering from over-extraction, resulting in salt-water intrusion and ground subsidence in coastal areas.’ (sustdevt.doc) Groundwater is often polluted - usually with sewage, (from septic tanks?) There is contamination from solid and human waste, and overuse has led to salination and as well as groundwater running dry in some areas. (Porter, 1996, p21; Aji (1996). Groundwater is widely used for washing clothes, and floors, flushing toilets and often bathing. Groundwater in Surabaya is sometimes dismissed as a serious water source by engineers due to salinity. However, the use of different water sources for different purposes means that groundwater currently serves as a major water source, in Surabaya and across the nation. It provides a large fraction of the water used for domestic purposes, and so must be taken very seriously in total catchment management perspective); Any work in improving the integrity of wastewater collection and treatment (domestic and industrial) will reap benefits in groundwater quality. Can be an unknown – the day it turned black in Surabaya. The desirability of maintaining groundwater as a secondary source means that management of pollution is important.

Rainwater[edit | edit source]

The major restrictions to rainwater are lack of rain in dry season and the space restrictions of city living, making storage of any sort difficult. Rainwater use cannot become practical unless underground tanks or similarly space efficient storage devices are used, and these are expensive. Rainwater collection in ponds has been tried, but the water was reportedly too muddy to be useful.

Greywater and stormwater[edit | edit source]

Although greywater is a form of pollution, described above, greywater and stormwater are also a water resource, as water is commonly scooped out of the open drains and splashed onto dirt roads to prevent dust. Sometimes groundwater may be used for this purpose, for example wealthier residents with a pump and hose. However, the open drains also provide a breeding ground for mosquitos, which carry dengue fever (malaria is rare in the cities), and provides a potential transmission source for other diseases to spread. Any scheme that reduces access to this water will place a slightly greater strain on other sources, especially groundwater. If stormwater and greywater were separated, however, with greywater passing through small-bore pipes, then stormwater would provide a safer source of low-grade water.

Legislative setting[edit | edit source]

The court system is often accused of being corruptible. Court action against offenders in Surabaya has never been successful. There is a need for legal reform, but even so, it is not reasonable to wait for court action to be effective. Delays characteristic of Indonesian bureaucracy could potentially take a number of years, and action on pollution is required immediately. In considering the legislative basis of pollution control, we have seen above that rules are not necessarily followed or enforced in Indonesia. Without a very efficient system of enforcement, a rule-based system is unlikely to be effective. Being collectivist, it is a high-context culture, placing less emphasis on what is written and more on what is understood. Being high uncertainty avoidance with respect to rules, rules are revered rather than followed. Thus, what is written and made law may be quite different from what is subsequently practised. Non -legislative methods involving community pressure on offenders have been used with some success in Indonesia, and are discussed in Part 5. The Environmental Bureau (Biro Lingkungan Hidup) in Surabaya, with guidance by BAPEDAL (Environmental Impact Agency) is developing the concept of an Effluent Charge.

Challenges[edit | edit source]

As stated above, the key water management issue facing Indonesian cities is capacity.

The requirements of public health[edit | edit source]

What do we mean by ‘adequate water supply and wastewater management’? What standard is sufficient (or attainable), and what does it look like? The high-level exposure activities discussed above raise the level of required purity in the water supply. It is necessary to provide water that will reduce the risk inherent in the level of exposure to contamination by Indonesians. This is not to say that all water has to immediately reach the standards of the developed world. Rather, public health will improve for every step made, for example, if those restricted to using untreated river water have a cleaner river; if those using groundwater have access to treated water; if treated water arrives through the pipes in a less polluted form. This involves maintenance of groundwater quality as well as ensuring that PDAM water is as clean as possible. Quantity of water is important, as emphasised by Indonesian engineers and stated above, and must be increased to allow more widespread use of clean water. This does not only apply to PDAM water, but all groundwater, as the use of groundwater reduces the demand on PDAM. An alternative is an education program, encouraging people to use only boiled water for high level exposure activities such as rinsing the mouth or washing food for raw consumption. However such a program will only ever have limited success - in rural areas, some people still do not boil water for drinking, in spite of awareness programs. In Surabaya and possibly most of Indonesia, chlorine is used instead of chloramine due to the perceived cancer risk of the latter. The greater residual disinfection ability may make chloramine more effective than chlorine in the more critical matter of disinfection, although the high pollution of the groundwater may render all residual disinfectant insignificant in any case. The poor aesthetic value of chloramine would also reduce the desirability of PDAM water, which can be more pleasant than Sydney tap water, and considering the importance of encouraging the use of better sources of water, this is significant.

Growth and the environment - a rock and a hard place)[edit | edit source]

To reject industrialisation would be to reject growth and the one successful large-scale process of alleviating poverty that Indonesia has seen in living memory, if ever. However, just as poverty is bad for the health, so is uncontrolled development. Some course must be found between the two; controlled development sensitive to the environment in which the Indonesian people must live. Since industrialisation cannot avoid some pollution, a compromise should most often be acceptable, because as industrialisation contributes to the wealth of society, improvements in sanitation and clean water supply can be implemented.

Need for infrastructure[edit | edit source]

From the discussion above, we can see that the greatest needs facing Indonesia in water and sanitation management are:

  • Improved piping, as so much water is lost and water quality severely reduced due to leaking piping.
  • Maintenance of existing capacity, through pollution control measures and recovery of sources already lost to pollution, if possible.
  • The provision of greater capacity. One potential source is from redirecting rural water sources to urban centres, but the costs involved are prohibitive.
  • The other option is greater reuse of water. This is similar to saying ‘greater pollution control’, as the first step must be to maximise the quality in the source water, and the most effective means of this is to minimise the waste put into it.

Part 5 – Implications[edit | edit source]

President Suharto observed in the early 1970s that while scientific and technological knowledge could be acquired from abroad, “the source of leadership, character and determination as a people building its future must continue to be drawn from the history of our own struggle and our own identity.”

Possibilities in Water and Wastewater Development[edit | edit source]

Introduction[edit | edit source]

Indonesia is different to Australia and other Western countries. Newton’s laws are the same, as one consultant pointed out to me. However, little else is. Synthesis means an adaptation of elements of Western culture reinterpreted in a distinctly Indonesian way, but a detour around modernism and the industrial revolution. Developing a country has for decades been considered primarily an economic and technical problem; it has been in the hands of technocrats at the giving, and often also at the receiving, end. Citizens of the receiving countries obtained technical or business degrees from universities in the donor countries, but they were not necessarily successful in applying their knowledge back home. It has slowly become evident that the quality of development cooperation depends on the effectiveness of the intercultural encounter of members of two very different societies. Nobody can develop a country but its own inhabitants; so foreign experts are only effect to the extent that they can transfer their know-how in the local context, and to the extent that the proposed aid fits in with felt needs and priorities in the receiving countries. This demands intercultural understanding, communication, and training skills. Indonesia may be a prime candidate for a thorough approach to recycling. Already Indonesia has a small ecological footprint but must grow yet smaller.

Soft Technology[edit | edit source]

The need for appropriate soft technology is clear. In Bali, efforts to improve rice production were counter-productive until the social system was understood.

Assessing culture[edit | edit source]

In assessing Indonesian culture some key soft technology considerations are: drive for harmony; high view of authority; an emphasis on softness; and an association of this with power, flexibility, and Paternal management, In chapter 9, the strengths of masculinity and femininity were discussed: “Feminine countries have a potential advantage in service industries such as consulting and transport, manufacturing according to specification, and dealing with live matter (agriculture and biochemistry).” This suggests that Indonesia is likely to need help for its big engineering dilemmas, but itself is likely to be better at human related issues of appropriate technology - especially in its own setting. The view of the some of the Dutch colonisers was that Indonesian tradition and belief were hindrances to development, and this was reflected in the patronising system of rule. For example, during the Ethical Policy, ‘the villager cannot even scratch his head, unless an expert shows him how to do it and the sub-district officer gives him permission.’

Leadership, Management and institutional development[edit | edit source]

Other nations such as India and ethnic Chinese countries are more similar to Indonesia, than many Western countries, in terms of the bapakism management model, and so may have more insight to offer in matters of institutional development. Examples of success in these countries are likely to be profitable objects of analysis and comparison for Indonesia. The element of high uncertainty avoidance in procedural matters creates similarities with the pyramid model of management structure, as found in France or Japan. Comparison here may yield profitable insights and suggest areas and means of institutional reform in a procedure-oriented work environment. Just as liberal democracy has had limited success in the west and little in Indonesia, Western management models are inaccurate and insufficient in an Indonesian context. It is important not simply to modify management according to Western patterns – this is doomed to failure, as we saw in Chapter 10. It is better to start with the strengths of the Indonesian culture. The collectivist and feminine characteristics of Indonesian culture naturally exhibit qualities such as harmony and sensitive patterns of relating that are only now being appreciated in countries such as masculine, individualist Australia, Britain and the USA – evidenced by the expression ‘Sensitive New-Age Guy’. Remembering the synergy spoken of with regard to high and low uncertainty avoidance in scientific research, (Chapter 9) there is great potential in forms of synthesis, which comes naturally to the Indonesian culture. To allow this synergy, it will be necessary to abandon some of the more restrictive aspects of culture, which in their extreme form limit initiative, creativity and participation. These factors include unthinking conformity to superiors and over-emphasis on procedure, and this process is already well underway. It was concluded in Chapter 10 that ‘the Bapak may have power, but not necessarily to influence the private actions of one under his authority.’ The implications for pollution control are very significant, due to the tendency to ignore rules that are not enforced by the presence of a higher status person.

‘While conventional projects have long included institutional development components, past project evaluations generally show poor results in achieving such development.’ 

Community participation[edit | edit source]

Attempts have been made in Indonesia and elsewhere, and have met with some success: ‘Where the urban poor continue to be seen as passive recipients of water and sanitation services as if of some form of welfare, the most determined efforts to move ahead can only succeed in standing still. If, on the other hand, the capacities of slum dwellers to provide their own amenities - capacities which they are already demonstrating in the context of housing and jobs - are acknowledged, they can be recast as active partners in service delivery and management.’ Community participation means more than just being cheap labour, although that may be a part. The role of gotong-royong (village based mutual cooperation) is key when effective water management is not attractive to the private sector, government resources are not available and the project does not appeal to the self-interest of foreign investment and aid. The community involvement needs to be based on the needs of the people seen from their own level, not from above and a great distance removed, geographically, culturally and socially. ‘ Citizen participation is, in effect, a form of non-formal education, enhancing the ability of individuals to contribute to the development process as new skills are learned and new norms adopted.’ Worldbank (1996) One successful example is the Orangi Pilot Project, beginning in 1980, which achieved full sewerage for an eighth to a quarter the cost of conventional sewerage when the community realised that the government was not going to provide full sewerage free of charge. The end result was not merely cheaper sanitation, but affordable sanitation - the change from streets ‘ filled with excreta and waste water ‘ to a functional sanitation system. The Orangi project encountered four main barriers to community level infrastructure projects which had to be overcome:

  1. “they believed that the provision of infrastructure is the responsibility of the government (the psychological barrier);
  2. they did not have the technical expertise to construct a sewerage system (the technological barrier);
  3. they were not organized to undertake collective action (the sociological barrier);
  4. they could not afford the costs of a conventional sewerage system (the economic barrier).” (bullets added)

Government concern in Indonesia may be the fear that ‘ efforts to generate participation may result in social unrest if they arouse expectations which cannot be fulfilled.’ (communit.doc) But the gain, including reduced social unrest due to more satisfied citizens, can potentially outweigh the dangers, as long as care is taken not to raise hopes unreasonably. When I asked an Indonesian academic about the possibility of community involvement in development, the reaction was that it is rare for the government to allow people to make their own decisions. In practice it may be ‘we will let you make your own decisions, but follow our guidance’. Since that time, however, I discovered example of community participation, with significant successes, in the area of Kampung Improvement Programs in Surabaya and rural water supply projects. Obviously thre are some significant barriers to overcome, but the evidence appears to be that they can be overcome. Lack of technical skills in the general population suggests not only the need to accelerate education, but to rethink established roles. Today, the “barefoot sanitarian” - a cross between a public health technician and an artisanal entrepreneur - is helping do the same for water and sanitation. This local teacher, mason or bicycle-shop proprietor with a modicum of training, who manufactures squatting-plates, tests water supply quality or mends the pump when it breaks down, belongs to - and is ideally paid by - the community. He or she also acts as an intermediary with the authorities, and sometimes as a health educator.

There has been some success in Indonesia of community involvement through the Indonesia Water and Sanitation for Low-Income Communities project (WSSLIC) rural water project, (World Bank 1996) but there does not appear to be a parallel project in cities apart from the general scheme initiated by Silas, above, which takes water into account. ‘In Indonesia rural water supply, programming of funds has been devolved to different levels. The higher the cost, the further the project has to travel for approval. However authorities cannot tamper with the basic design of the water system.’ World Bank (1996) The issues that must be considered are those of the role of the water users.

Hard Technology[edit | edit source]

High turbidity and nutrient content of water suggests that some waste treatment technology may be suitable for drinking water pretreatment (eg roughing filters). Hard technology can also free technology for application by communities – soft technology implications. In urban sanitation, technological innovations have enabled new forms of community and agency collaboration to emerge. This includes the shallow sewers in Orangi, Pakistan and the condominial sewerage system in Brazil, in which technological innovation and social organization have gone hand in hand. (communit.doc)

Planning[edit | edit source]

Compromise - the best is the enemy of the good (as argued by Porter, 1996, quote p93) Forward planning is required. Plans to have treatment for groups of factories on industrial estates; smaller local systems being considered for domestic waste; Note project to consider using pipes for combined sewage, separate from stormwater drains. (groundwater would most likely be used for wetting roads in place of greywater.) Industrial estates with factories sharing waste treatment facilities offer prospects for slashing pollution levels without serious impact on the important economic viability of the factories. (At times, the different wastes may even be complementary - for example, water high in BOD can be used to denitrify highly eutrophic waste.) More reservoirs (Porter, 1996, p41) Considering Australia’s environmental problems due to weirs and other interventionist water management practices - particularly in the Murray-Darling Basin - I am hesitant to join Porter in endorsing the use of reservoirs. Such drastic interventionist practices, with its history of unforseen environmental problems, should be considered carefully and after careful consideration of other options. Better recycling, and pollution minimisation to protect existing water sources will have a huge impact on the adequacy of existing sources.

Sanitation: (Porter, 1996, p47) states that the short-term need is for improved septic tanks and public toilets. There is also a medium-term option, to mimic that which was so successful in Orangi (orangi.doc & …) to have a small diameter sewer for fluids, with solids separated and disposed of by residents. (The high level of consciousness of the local environment that I observed may serve to ensure that this is done and blockages are avoided. Particularly if tanks are placed in such a way as to minimise the system effect, and maximise (relatively, as far as minimises system effect) the consequences for the responsible household. A variation of this, a sewer to remove septic tank effluent, has been carried out in Jakarta [PT Indah, 1989, p12, (Porter, 1996, p53)] Public toilets with off-site treatment for poorer areas (Porter, 1996, p47) may be difficult to convince people to use them, but if maintained properly. A place for the spread of disease, especially if poorly cleaned, but obvious advantages over no toilets. (Porter, 1996, p54-5) discusses the reasons for little emphasis: require expensive land [“for drainage?”]; history of poor planning and construction - unwanted and unused; lack of maintenance; practical operational question of desludging - often inadequate, or doesn’t occur; susceptible to flooding and tank overflow. Dependence on institutionalised maintenance is unwise, in the light of cultural conclusions above (details…)

Legislation[edit | edit source]

Although availability of water is essential, it is important to maintain the current frugality with water which is practised. If sewers are used, treatment cost tariff can be tied directly to the water. Currently a tiered water charge penalises heavy consumers of water. In spite of this, increases in wealth could conceivably increase water consumption by those who can afford to do so. This would be aggravated by a lack of widespread awareness of how to save water. One option is to legislate that only certain types of fittings are allowable, especially restricting luxury items such as types of shower heads, flush toilets, and taps to water efficient and leak resistant models. This could avoid the wealthy fraction of society using too high a proportion of water by switching to inefficient shower heads and conventional Western style flush toilets.

The economics of improvement to a river[edit | edit source]

(Porter, 1996, p117ff) provides an analysis of the costs and benefits of cleaning a river. The major costs include: providing alternative waste disposal; education; monitoring and enforcement. Time and inconvenience to the users could be a significant cost if new methods of disposal are less convenient. The benefits include: increased quality, leading to reduced treatment costs and less boiling for those that drink it; more adequate water for riverside residents for various uses; reduced disease and consequent medical costs, less lost labour; increased fishing; improved flood control; irrigation possibilities for riverside agriculture; recreational use (especially significant since there are few low-cost recreation activities);aesthetic improvement. We might also add to Porter’s list the flow-on effects of business and tourism - it is common to hear Westerners to complain about Jakarta, and pollution is a major factor. Aesthetic improvement is one part of making Jakarta a more pleasant place for tourists and business people.

Compromise[edit | edit source]

(expanding the concept of appropriate technology to include soft technology practices, management practices, usage practices?…) It has been suggested by more than one consultant that water quality standards should be deliberately lowered, to enable an increase in the amount of water treated. The rationale is that the water must be boiled before drinking anyway. The discussion of water usage patterns, above (Section…) demonstrates a problem with this - {there is enough contact with unboiled water to potentially transmit disease, through washing of fruit for example, and when water is boiled, it is boiled insufficiently (summarise from above)} A popular idea is to pay less attention to the quality of water, since only a small percentage is used for drinking, and it must be boiled for this purpose anyway, and pay more attention to quantity. This is where a knowledge of domestic water practices is essential – there is some value in this idea, but the high level of exposure to unboiled water.

        1. Community involvement

Involving the people in all water improvement strategies is a vital consideration in planning. – Community involvement doesn’t have to be an all or nothing thing, and there should be some element of involvement in all projects. Government needs to be active in promoting community involvement so that people aren’t ‘spectators to development’(Islamic activist, see Schwartz, 1994, p246).

New forms of pollution control[edit | edit source]

PROKASIH launched in 1978?* (Soeseno, 1995) {The involvement of the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) with the innovative and successful PROKASIH scheme of pollution control (watchdog style), which will be touched on below in Part 5.}

Education[edit | edit source]

The need for education is widely felt. An academic (not an engineer) said: I could easily envisage a $50b project of piping and plumbing … But where do we get the people who can manage these things? Improving education is not simply a matter of increasing funding. There are fundamental questions of approach to be dealt with. As with technology, transfer of western educational theory is inadequate for the challenges of Indonesian schooling. Questions that must be answered include: Where is the best training for Indonesians to learn technical and administrative skills? Massachusetts Institute of Technology or the University of New South Wales, or have a program tailored to the needs of Indonesia? Work experience can play an important part in learning to apply skills in the Indonesian context. the Both the Institute of Technology, Bandung, and the University of Indonesia are involved in a student exchange program with the University of New South Wales and around 90 other universities around the world, implying that they have reached high enough standards to satisfy the requirements of those other universities.

Links with overseas universities[edit | edit source]

To be involved in exchange programs requires a certain standard, and the measurements used by foreign universities may reflect different values – eg they not accept rote learning. This can make integration of Indonesian students difficult.

        1. Research links

Having a history of research in water wastewater management carried out for their own benefit, Western countries such as Australia have a pool of knowledge that can potentially contribute significantly to Indonesia. Increasingly, research is being done in cooperation with Indonesian universities - including many research links with Australian universities. There are links between researchers at various Australian bodies – including a number of universities and the CSIRO – and Indonesian universities and government departments . Projects include: water quality of a polluted water body; use of a computer model for river water quality; water use minimisation and wastewater treatment in industry; and groundwater use and land subsidence. Also links between academics and engineers (like the CRC at UNSW?) *Also follows from section (4.4*) on technology

Research[edit | edit source]

ITS involvement in urban development projects, including water treatment plants, river quality remediation and research on appropriate technologies is a significant research function.

(Roles) (what is needed? And who can help with it?)[edit | edit source]

Foreign experts[edit | edit source]

The need for people from foreign countries who are prepared and are able to assist in relevant ways is clear. “Diplomats lack both the skills and the organizational culture to act as successful entrepreneurs for development consulting activities.” (Hofstede p219-20)

“in issues of real importance diplomats are usually directed by politicians who have the power but not the diplomatic savoir-faire. Politicians often make statements intended for domestic use, which the diplomats are supposed to explain to foreign negotiation partners.” (Hofstede p225) 

Finance[edit | edit source]

While lack of finance can provide a stimulus to development, as it did in Orangi, Pakistan,* external finance is often necessary. The World Bank and other bodies thus have a major influence in Indonesia.

(Cooperation and roles) – who is there?[edit | edit source]

The industrialised nations are not the only ones with something to offer Indonesia. Technical Cooperation with Developing Countries is a key area which can benefit the development of Indonesia. – (unknown to Environmental Engineering department at ITS)

(Diagram showing relationships, between groups?)

Indonesian autonomy in development – another struggle for independence.[edit | edit source]

        1. Direct Government initiatives

PSL (the Environmental Study Centre) ?

        1. Leadership

Important lessons from Orangi can be applied in the Indonesian context especially that the impetus came from a motivated individual who was a well-known community organiser. …in community based rural water projects in Indonesia and Pakistan, success in community organizing was closely linked to the presence of strong leaders interested in changing the water supply situation. However, in Zimbabwe, when local leaders implemented the policy regarding communal grazing schemes, they often grabbed the external resources for themselves, or actively obstructed the formation of grazing groups. The best situation is if community leaders are government figures - eg Bapak RT/RW - so that actions will not be seen as subversive. To make this a strict guideline poses the danger of crippling with bureaucracy, by granting power over the project to someone external, who must be satisfied, bribed, in order to cooperate.

Different countries[edit | edit source]

Different nations can contribute different things dependent on their own experience, successes and strengths. Dubai will most likely contribute something different from Israel, the USA, Australia and the Netherlands, (for example) with their different hydrological environment, and differing levels of wealth, and education and different cultures. A country such as Australia can make the greatest contribution by recognising its place and working within that.

Aid, investment and business[edit | edit source]

Aid, investment and business use economic influence, sometimes for positive ends: eg stipulating aid with a focus on environment, or at least avoiding self-serving stipulations with negative or weak results. Stipulations may be negative, as will be discussed in (community level involvement) Many countries have been involved in aid projects to Indonesia, including projects in the water and wastewater sector, with various levels of success. The involvement of the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) with the innovative and successful PROKASIH scheme of pollution control (watchdog),

        1. Nature of Contributions

What can foreigners contribute today? Important contributions include:

  1. Engineering experience: Because of inadequate experience of ‘advanced’ water supply and pollution control schemes among Indonesian engineers, Indonesian companies often seek outside expertise.
  2. Organisational experience: Helping to set up appropriate organisational structures (eg the PCI project in East Java – see literature)
  3. Economic cooperation: eg SUDP (Surabaya Urban Development Project) funded by OECF (Overseas Economic Cooperation Fund, Japan) & WB. IBRD, also lends money for development projects. ADB (Asian? Development Bank) also lends very large amounts in Asia, comparable to WB; Condition is that projects let through, International Competitive Bidding (ICB).
  4. Consultancy: Foreign business involvement often takes the form of consultancy, however the company and the individual foreign employees need to understand the context. It is not enough for the company to have the experience if the consultant has been with the company for two weeks, having had no preparation.

East or West? Technical Co-Operation Among Developing Countries[edit | edit source]

Currently the emphasis is on the role of the Westerner. The Westerner has only had a relatively recent role in Indonesia’s history (since the 16th century), but dominates awareness in the current technical environment. Cooperation with developing countries does occur although of those I mentioned it to in Indonesia, only Pr Silas was aware of it. Notwithstanding the conspicuous successes that have been achieved in many areas, there is a tendency on the part of many developing countries to view TCDC [Technical Co-operation Among Developing Countries] as a less desirable technical cooperation modality compared with traditional North-South exchanges. This often results in a lack of awareness of the real potential of TCDC as a technically appropriate, and cost-effective modality for addressing developing countries needs and strengthening links with their partners in the South. Of course, tied aid programs as well as assumption of the superiority of ‘advanced’ countries in development militate against TCDC. Appropriateness is a different matter, and is likely to favour counties dealing with similar problems.

(Applying) Pressure groups[edit | edit source]

Culturally relevant water and sanitation management PROKASIH An abbreviation for “Clean River Program”. no authority? But used the power of the people by publishing environmental ratings – public pressure was placed on the worst companies. [very good example of working within the context, not trying to get power that’s unlikely to be given, or to use legal system that can be corrupted.] This is certainly an Indonesian prerogative, although such actions may be encouraged from outside. Cf Similar approach with other areas ‘ hotels who do not comply will be targeted by BAPEDAL according to Deputy Nabiel Makarim, their non compliance will result in the black or red rating.’ (newsclip.doc - is this PROKASIH, or just influenced?) Also PROPER: Best practices awards, following the idea of Habitat II (N_AWARDS), may be helpful.

Community pressure. Mass movements have played an important role in history. Care must be taken, however, in such an unstable political situation as Indonesia – political turmoil si a destructive way to bring about change.

International pressure. The international public/community[edit | edit source]

A 1994 survey suggests that most Australians believe that Aid should be for our benefit as well as developing countries. Unless this attitude is moderated (and the opposite is happening in some quarters) little change is likely with so many forces enforcing the status quo. Pressure, (as Dutch at home during the struggle for independence, see above), particularly on the use of our aid money. Foreigners have also played a role - the international outcry over Dutch police actions was part of the pressure that led to Indonesia being granted independence. Oppression by Dutch, now by multi-nationals, and nations perverting the intent of aid projects. Political lobbying and (cross-cultural management development) - two facets of Australia’s development aid in the less developed world.

International non-profit bodies[edit | edit source]

See Chapter 4, Dublin conference. Global Water Partnership.doc (So, does this actually do anything?) ‘There are a number of existing collaborative programmes funded by UNDP, the World Bank and external support agencies. The present aim is that the GWP will consolidate these programmes and bring together key partners, not just from water supply and sanitation sectors, but from irrigation, environment and other subsectors. It will start with the field programme of the UNDP-World Bank Water and Sanitation Programme, but will later expand the scope of services, activities and products in response to demand. The GWP will have four main features: Integrated programmes at regional and national levels Capacity building Sustainable investments Global orientation for learning across frontiers. The UNDP and World Bank aim to invite other partners to join them in addressing long- term challenges facing the water sector and participate in the development of the Global Water Partnership.’ International movements (words and actions; watchdogs)Selflessness is an admirable quality, but it is unlikely to come from big business, so when we consider roles, we must seek elsewhere for the tasks of selflessness. {compare with Dutch, some good intentions, but inadequate understanding – above. These groups are like the ‘Ethici’, the Dutch activists who promoted the Ethical policy, struggling against the parties of self-interest, and achieving only partial success. In the Ethical policy, it should be noted that ‘the good intentions of the idealists were only carried out insofar as they did not conflict with the more practical interests of the planters and businessmen in the Indies.’

Other Cultural factors[edit | edit source]

Wakeman (1993) (Gender Issues.doc) ‘Communities are formed of various subgroups, including those based on gender, ethnic group, income, and religion. Awareness of the different preferences and practices of these subgroups can be critical to project success.’ Traditional means of communication may be beneficial - eg puppets (variation on the wayang - acceptable? The government use this already, for family planning, transmigration, participation in development program (like encourage child to go to school, jagalah kebersihan, peliharalah keindahan). – Supriadi – people love wayang, watch it all night.) In communit.doc, examples of successful media in different parts of the world are: puppet theatres, street plays, minstrel groups and story telling. My best guess for Indonesia is personal visits (with humility), and working through the RT and RW would be most applicable.

Relations and diplomacy[edit | edit source]

As Australian Ambassador to Indonesia from 1989 to 1993, Flood was regarded with awe by politicians and diplomatic colleagues. He spoke excellent Indonesian and won unsurpassed access to Jakarta’s political and foreign policy elites. Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade executives recall that Flood was one of few foreign diplomats who could reach top Indonesian officials on their car phones. … “He did in a few hours what would normally have taken weeks of work,” one senior diplomat said recently. Indonesia being a collectivist society, there is an advantage in having people based in Indonesia, even a particular part of Indonesia, for the long term, to develop relationships and contacts. Pay attention to business relations (diplomacy, relationships)

        1. Cultural Preparation

Because of the expense involved and the importance of the projects, engineers are chosen very carefully, and projects are being run and advised by very capable technical people. Less care is taken with personal skills – in cultural adaptation they vary from novices thrown in the deep end, struggling to cope, to the seasoned veterans with decades of experience in Indonesia (plus a few years in other countries). Drew (1997), no preparation. the difficulty of preparing a person suggests a long-term position. This will make it all the more important to keep the expatriate unstressed and happy in their new country, to avoid having to flee home to the West at the end of a two-year contract. Experience in other countries will be of assistance as well, so there is some flexibility.

Done to here, 30/4/97[edit | edit source]

Women[edit | edit source]

Importance of involving women - most often have responsibility for water use. Often overlooked even by projects with a stated desire to reach women (communit.doc) ‘Project experience establishes that women and the poor are not automatically reached through community based projects. If this is a goal, it must be reflected in the objectives, strategies, and indicators of success.’ (communit.doc) {later section -> women know most about sources (quality, reliability, restrictions, advantages and other practical aspects of use) and are in the best position to report on any water system and take a role in its design and maintenance. This approach must be written into the institutionalisation. Agencies and bodies pay particular attention to men.

Other[edit | edit source]

Interdependence; Of course, if water supply is increased, wastewater management must keep pace with the extra volume - thus the advantages of increased supply are potentially tempered by increase in waste - the more dilute waste will be even less effectively treated. Wastewater management is already inadequate, and any improvement will take pressure of water treatment and supply - thus making any improvement doubly effective. But has been a focus on water rather than wastewater, due to Indonesian government and foreign aid priorities. Danger that training engineers and technicians may actually take money away from the poor (Schwartz, 1994, p93) Must use resources carefully. [Where there is a sufficient supply of qualified locals, it can be best to have locals do the work with foreigners as trainers and consultants. - the Indonesian role can increase as education levels increase. ] Technological development dependent on education, and a long-term process (Schwartz, 1994, p89) Role of the internet in communication, collaboration, interchange of ideas. Internet revolutionising communication and access to information and ideas - tremendous resources, for example forums for discussion of technical issues (eg WEF). The global village is approaching more quickly than ever, but whether it will ever predominate over the influence of the local community and culture is dubious, particularly as strong a collectivist culture as Indonesia. See, above (4.4) History of neglecting local issues in choosing and applying technology.

Conclusions[edit | edit source]

“It is not that we should simply seek new and better ways for managing society, the economy, and the world. The point is that we should fundamentally change how we behave.” – Vaclav Havel (President of the Czech Republic) 

Is the answer in technology or human, or organisational? Technology is an essential tool, but the fundamental answer is human. Leadership, human development, training, key people to lead, environment, growth – these are the important issues and they depend on hard technology, but in themselves are soft. What does a positive response look like?: To paraphrase Geertz “The major innovations and innovational problems the entrepreneurs [today – engineers] face are organizational rather than technical” there a major conflict of interest between motives of foreigners in Indonesia and the The pre-eminence of relationships, as opposed to tasks; A strong desire for consensus and harmony, and avoidance of conflict; Indonesian has traditionally had a history of ‘government by man’ rather than ‘government by law’, that is obedience to a ruler rather than a set of laws which are above the ruler, which leads to the next points; A management practice best described as paternalism. This reflects Thus there is a very high view of power which gives power to a leader and little freedom to a subordinate, and an emphasis on relationship above rules or abstract values; A strong procedural emphasis, (conformity) stemming in part from the historical concern for security of Indonesian rulers, including the current government, as well as the ceremonial nature of the courtly Javanese culture, and the effect of Dutch colonialism demoting Javanese leaders to powerless bureaucrats.

The impact of these features on any form of development is most significant. Indonesians, because of their greater ‘tenderness’ have a greater potential to appreciate the human element of technology. However, engineering development is restricted by the emphasis on procedure rather than creativity. This cannot be rectified simply by more education, as the education system of a country reflects its culture. Style of education, and overseas influence, will make a difference here. This will impact upon any program which aims for community level involvement, as people will not necessarily be willing to take responsibility which they perceive may bring them trouble, and such a program may raise concerns of security by the government.

In regarding these matters, we should also consider domestic water practices, and the conclusion that even Indonesians with a piped water supply have a significant degree of exposure to contaminated water, in spite of boiling water for drinking.

Epilogue[edit | edit source]

As I stated in the preface, there is much more to be said on this topic – this is hopefully a first step. Further study may benefit from involvement of specialists on each of the matters concerned, alongside continued examination of the broader picture. I have gone to primary sources as much as possible, particularly interviewing Indonesians in regard to specific cultural questions, but deeper analysis and specific research by someone with a thorough understanding of management and organisational theory could be very fruitful. I certainly do not think that I have exhausted the scope for research.

Further study[edit | edit source]

The similarities in management style found with other Asian countries. Areas identified but not fully pursued include:

  • Interviews with management theorists who have an understanding of cultural issues,
  • the dimension of long-term orientation, which results from Chinese in culture, discussed by Hofstede (1990). Hofstede’s case-studies (published 1994) are likely to offer additional insight.
  • One essay in a collection of essays by C.J. Koch, I have been told, discuss the similarities between Australian and Indonesian culture. This is interesting, as in spite of the many differences demonstrated in the discussion above, I often had the feeling that we had a lot in common, and Koch may be able to give more substance to that feeling.

Appendix A - Uncertainty Avoidance – High or Low?[edit | edit source]

The origins and Hofstede’s results suggest a moderate uncertainty avoidance, but there is some contradictory information in discussing rules orientation (characteristic of high uncertainty avoidance) and flexibility (characteristic of low uncertainty avoidance.) In discussing these factors with Indonesian friends, I found that they gave varying answers to which side Indonesia fell on for individual scores, but that there was nonetheless a consistency to their response that suggested a worldview that is internally consistent, but not captured perfectly within this dimension. The features below are taken from Hofstede’s (1991) lists of characteristics of low and high uncertainty avoidance. Each theoretical pole has been separated according to how strongly it corresponds to Indonesian culture. Features of the Indonesian culture have been listed where they clearly correspond to either low or high uncertainty avoidance.

Low[edit | edit source]

The following characteristics are true of a country with low uncertainty avoidance:

Strongly corresponding to Indonesia[edit | edit source]

precision and punctuality not natural; aggression and emotions should not be shown; The uncertainty avoidance index reflects anxiety levels. More anxious cultures tend to be the more expressive cultures (p115), suggesting that the Javanese (with their particular emphasis, observed by many, including Anderson, on harmony, quietness and indirectness – discussed in femininity (Section 8.5) [this has the danger of appearing circular if I use Hofstede’s dimensions to support these features].) might have a lower uncertainty avoidance index than other ethnic groups in Indonesia. easy-going,

‘In countries with weak uncertainty avoidance people give the impression of being quiet easy-going, indolent controlled, lazy.’ These impressions are in the eye of the beholder: they depend on the level of emotionality to which the observer has been accustomed in his or her own culture.’  (subjective)

Flexibility It is shown in section 9.4 that a key aspect of Indonesian culture is synthesis, the adoption of new aspects of culture in layers without fundamental change to itself. This acceptance and absorption of the new suggests low uncertainty avoidance ‘Rules are only established in case of absolute necessity, such as to determine whether traffic should keep left or right. [which sounds like Indonesian traffic patterns] People in such societies pride themselves that many problems can be solved without formal rules. [which echoes Indonesian consensus.]’

Partly[edit | edit source]

One group’s truth should not be imposed on others; Belief in generalists and common sense; (unclear)

More trouble with[edit | edit source]

Disregard for rules and laws Tolerant of deviant and innovative ideas and behaviour; ‘What is different, is curious;’ and this highlights a way in which Indonesian culture, with its emphasis on tolerance, is low uncertainty avoidance - especially the Javanese culture.

High[edit | edit source]

Indonesian culture does not exhibit most of the classic signs of high uncertainty avoidance (Hofstede (1991)

Strongly[edit | edit source]

Discipline of ritual and procedure. Conformity poor scope for creativity.

Tight rules for children on what is dirty and taboo; 

“in strong uncertainty avoidance, collectivist countries rules are often implicit and rooted in tradition (high-context communication).” (p128) Strong uncertainty avoidance managers focus on daily operations, due to the ambiguity of strategic planning. Weak uncertainty avoidance managers focus on strategic planning. [Afifah - daily, not strategic at all. Don’t like to make a long-term agenda.] (*Supriadi – have a plan, but it changes.) Rules of behaviour – the frequency of ‘no, that’s wrong.’

Partly[edit | edit source]

Students comfortable in structured learning situations and concerned with the right answers rather than discussion (although in Indonesia it is more a case that that is the only situation the students know); Teachers supposed to have all the answers (again only partially true); Suppression of deviant ideas and behaviour, and resistance to innovation (outward conformity is often the important thing); Many and precise laws and rules (true of cultural praxis); Citizen incompetence versus authorities; Citizen protest should be repressed; Citizens negative towards institutions What is different is dangerous;

Conclusion[edit | edit source]

The Javanese are generally lower uncertainty avoidance scale than other Indonesian cultures, based on their tolerance, indirectness, and emphasis on harmony, non-expressiveness and serenity (rather than anxiety). These features are mostly to do with relating,. Relationally low UA, procedurally high UA.

Appendix B - Education –developing the future.[edit | edit source]

Introduction[edit | edit source]

Education levels are not high: Level of education completed: Proportion of (adult?)population Primary school (6 years) 27% Senior High school (an additional 6 years) Less than 19% University Less than 2%

Level of education completed: Proportion of (adult?)population
Primary school (6 years) 27%
Senior High school (an additional 6 years) Less than 19%
University Less than 2%

Education is still increasing steadily, as shown by statistics that among today’s students, 94% of Indonesians complete the required six years of primary school, and 45% complete senior high school. A slow process - technocrat points out that it took 25 yrs to make primary level education universally available in Indonesia. (Schwartz, 1994, p89). Difficulty that education is very expensive - high school can be take major part of a poor family’s income (Schwartz, 1994, p93-4). But still need to develop, particularly in the hard sciences and vocational training (Schwartz, 1994, p89) In spite of the importance of education, Ali Wardhana points out that "'there are no shortcuts; you can't simply produce a class of instant engineers. It took us 25 years just to make primary education available to all Indonesians."'

History of Education[edit | edit source]

Education did not begin with Western influence. In at least one case, the Batak people of Sumatra, a high proportion of the population could read and write before any attempts at Western education. There were religious centres of learning from the 7th century or earlier, although in most cases the common people had no formal education. It was through Western-style education, however, that major change came to Indonesia.

Western Education[edit | edit source]

Before the 20th century, a small number of Indonesian children were educated at the expense of Dutch patrons. Then, in the early 20th century, education was an important aspect of the Ethical policy, and was seen as an instrument of modernisation and social development. Schools were also set up by nationalist and Muslim organisations, although numbers were still small. The colonial masters could not have predicted the results – education was a major catalyst of nationalism, and began to prepare the people to claim control of their own future. Since the 1940s the government has placed great emphasis on mass education, and the majority of the children now enter primary schools. Most people are literate. (Britannica, 1997-1) Slow but steady progress since independence; expense is a major restraint (Schwartz, 1994, p89- below). {best ways to spend aid

Education today[edit | edit source]

Primary, secondary and tertiary education is increasing. Some study overseas, especially for postgraduate degrees, leading to a greater influence of Western education. Kuliah Kerja Nyata, or “village work experience” is a course run by some universities where students have to spend some months helping villages (Gadja Mada Uni?). Build awareness and sense of responsibility. Level Figures in BPS file? Otherwise, Price Waterhouse notes, in “Done” envelope. Skill shortage in the General population Lack of education diminishes worker productivity. Ibu Indrarini (intervew.doc): insufficient people for water management -> need to boost education; {Need broader range of education options, such as technical training… AusAID. “I think education is our greatest problem.” says Dharmanto “I could easily envisage a $50b project of piping and plumbing for a town (the money coming from the US or Australia). But where do we get the people who can manage these things?’ Limitations Teachers have to do many subjects, so difficult to specialise. (E2, 1996) Teachers and lecturers are poorly paid. Dharmanto tells of a student he taught English at university. With a letter of introduction from him, she got a job in Jakarta, immediately earning more than her lecturer.

Conclusions[edit | edit source]

Education and Culture[edit | edit source]

In a high power distance country, the teacher is very central - teachers are treated with respect and students speak when specifically invited. In Indonesia, the word for teacher is “guru”, from the Sanskrit for ‘weighty’ or ‘honourable’, and it still carries those connotations. Collectivism and femininity tend to be less competitive (and Indonesia is both).

Education and the home[edit | edit source]

Schools and families demonstrated the same cultural patterns in a given society. (Hofstede, 1991, p34) The role of informal education and family attitudes to education should not be forgotten. E2 (1996), an Indonesian Chinese, mentions informal education as part of his upbringing. While this is more established in the Chinese culture, it is something which involves a generation change where it does not already exist. This is more established in the Chinese culture, but we should expect the same thing to happen in the broader population with the new generation - Education levels and expectations will automatically be passed on to their children. {This will be a slow process, over a generation or two.

Conformity in Education[edit | edit source]

The Dutch heritage, the earliest encounter with the Western style of eduction that predominates in Indonesia, includes rote learning. While this was common practice in Western education earlier this century, it is no longer considered an adequate approach. Western education has itself undergone major changes since Dutch colonial education. New courses – such as the Masters of Teaching at the University of Sydney – place much greater emphases on the initiative of the student, and deal at least partly with cultural factors. Rote heritage enforces today the cultural tendencies. The conformity discussed in Chapter 6 means that creativity and original thought is not valued as much as fitting in. Collectivism means that students do not put forth their own opinion as an individual. The ‘Asal Bapak senang’ (As long as the boss is happy) effect discussed above also means that agreeing with a teacher is natural, and questioning is not. Education in a collectivist culture prepares the child to be acceptable group member, rather than to have a place in a society of individuals. Speaking out is less desirable. A qualification gives status and provides an entry ticket greater work opportunities, with understanding being secondary. Speaking out or questioning will not help earn a certificate or degree. Many Indonesians who I spoke with, particularly lecturers, described disapprovingly the rote-learning in Indonesian schools and universities. An engineer remembers that at the Institute of Technology Bandung, visiting lecturers from London tended to encourage participation, but Indonesian lecturers ‘were one way traffic’ (E2). When Dharmanto’s children were enrolled in Australian schools they were given independent research projects, which would be unheard of in his Indonesian experience. As conformity was partly learned, can creativity and critical thinking be learned? Motivation of the Learner Thus there is less motive or freedom to speak out. A common comment by University lecturers is that students lack motivation and will not read unless forced to. I suspect, though, that most lecturers in Australia and elsewhere will say the same of their undergraduate students. Conversely, there are parents I have met and others I know of who work hard to send children to best schools and universities, in the hope that they will be the next generation of thinkers and leaders. Conclusion: whether or not Indonesia stands out for lack of motivation relative to other cultures is unclear - however, it is clear that lack of motivation is a perceived problem { Motivation of the Learner Lack of motivation is a problem, and should be recognised as such in any education project.

A developmental force[edit | edit source]

Geertz recognised in 1963 that ‘The entire momentum necessary for a transition to sustained growth is not likely to come “from below ’ It is a vehicle of social change - enabling people to cross social strata, changing their worldview, and creating capability for development. A spark The educated elite and their imact on leadership and development in Indonesia have been discussed in Chapters 4 and 11, above. The more educated have had such a huge influence on Indonesian history, especially in the fight for independence and the economic turnaround under the Suharto government.

Limitations[edit | edit source]

Supriadi: Education may bring some change, but we still have no power [Afifah - political power greater than education.]

Progress in education[edit | edit source]

influence of improved facilities for learning - laboratories, libraries. Scholarships from overseas are already common, as well as scholarships from the INDONESIAN GOVERNMENT to assist students studying overseas. (A question for further research: what is focus of study? Figures from UNSW, 1996 are around 61% of Indonesian students studying engineering, science or medicine, 36% business/law and 3% humanities/art (Admin, UNSW)

Habibie and High technology[edit | edit source]

There is a place for high technology, including in Indonesia. The application is highly controversial. As well as increases in wealth and education, the increase in urbanisation means that resources of finance and expertise are more concentrated, making higher levels of technology more appropriate and attainable. The high-ranking Cabinet minister Dr Yusuf (?) Habibie is ‘at odds with both the military and the world Bank influenced economists who have overseen Indoensia’s economic development because of his advocacy of state-supported high technology industries.’ He is German trained, and is known to have a preference for German technology. ‘as one banker put it: “Habibie believes that if you train 1,000 engineers and get one Bill Gates out of it, it’s worth it. You do get a critical mass of skilled labor. It’s a calculated risk.” … Mr. Suharto defended the project as the consummate national pride’

Effects[edit | edit source]

Critical and analytical skills – results of conformity[edit | edit source]

Critical and analytical skills are affected by the dominant cultural themes of procedures, security and conformity. Such a culture does not encourage the development of critical and analytical skills. Hofstede states that the most likely explanation for differences in cognitive processes between cultures is upbringing, reinforced through education, and the skills learnt in the education system. Afifah explains: ‘It’s hard for foreigners to argue with Indonesians, because Indoensians will not give a lot of reasons for their proposals, so (it is) hard to accept. (They are) not taught analytical skills or to speak critically, including at university. It is permissible to disagree with a lecturer, but not to disagree openly. (The emphasis in preparing for) exams is not to train to think critically or analytically on a case, not problem solving, but rather memorisation. This is the biggest barrier…Indonesian employers complain that (graduates have not been prepared for) work, not ready to argue with a foreigner.’ (Afifah, 1997) [Of course this is a generalisation – there is a presence of critical thinkers. consider my discussions with Pak Daeng, such as Afifah and others I have met. Yet they will not always use their critical thinking skills, as the power situation of work or politics has not changed.. ] The cultural context means that even if people are educated to think critically, their work environment is still likely to require conformity. The response of employers, referred to by Afifah, above, suggests that changes are occurring. NOTE Section on critical and analytical skills in education, below. Under-developed critical faculties

Creativity.[edit | edit source]

Education and culture, along with UAI, do not encourage creativity. Theses tend not to be good quality, but a lot of copying. (E2)

Studying overseas[edit | edit source]

Overseas scholarships, and paid education for the wealthy element of society.

Conclusions[edit | edit source]

Note that some the biggest changes in Indonesia’s development have come through a very small proportion of educated elite. Perhaps the best approach would be to train a proportion of would-be engineers to a very high level, as well as the standard education system. Is the best means to just send them to MIT/UNSW, or to have a program tailored to the needs of Indonesia? Possibly work experience and unversity projects rlated to Indonesia. Education - engineering the future of Indonesian society. Engineers should play a role in this (whether suggesting elements of the curriculum or as initiators in the change process), and will have particular insights into education with a developmental perspective. However, engineers must realise the dependence on educators for improvement. Education aid programs could take a number of approaches, broad or focused: Focused: Sponsor tertiary study outside indonesia. AusAID has quite a large program of Indonesian students studying in Australia (number? Richard Jones.) Provide resources for development at Indonesian universities Help build new institutions with a slightly different focus and intent. This is an option being considered by AusAID currently, particularly for Eastern provinces (Richard Jones AusAID, canberra, interview July 1997) Need levels and options of education, including for dirt poor.

Options[edit | edit source]

What direction is wanted? compare the USA and Japanese approaches to education - the USA’s freedom gives rise to creativity and innovation, and Japan’s discipline gives rise to development, optimisation and efficiency (and a different set of social problems). English (interpretive) and American (rote) and “Asian” (more heavily rote and conformist), What was the Dutch style? However, these cannot simply be chosen, as they are a product of the society in which they occur. Any change will be difficult because schools reflect culture, so we should work with the force rather than pushing vainly against it. The question is, what is possible in Indonesia, and what is best for Indonesia? How can it be made to work effectively?

Appendix C – Poverty indicators[edit | edit source]

Selected Indicators 1992 1993 1994 1995 Percentage of households using piped water for drinking 14.68 14.71 16.15 16.37 Percentage of households using electricity for lighting 51.90 55.28 60.91 66.70 Percentage of households with non-earth floor 72.47 73.25 75.21 76.02 Percentage of households having toilet 35.92 36.90 39.32 46.76 Percentage of households with floor area equal or greater than 50 sq.m 54.70 52.04 54.26 55.60

Selected Indicators 1992 1993 1994 1995
Percentage of households using piped water for drinking 14.68 14.71 16.15 16.37
Percentage of households using electricity for lighting 51.90 55.28 60.91 66.70
Percentage of households with non-earth floor 72.47 73.25 75.21 76.02
Percentage of households having toilet 35.92 36.90 39.32 46.76
Percentage of households with floor area equal or greater than 50 sq.m 54.70 52.04 54.26 55.60

Bibliography[edit | edit source]

Note that interviews are separate, following the Bibliography.

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    • Hawes F and Kealey DJ, 1979, Canadians in Development: An Empirical Study of Adaptation and Effectiveness on Overseas Assignment, Ottawa: Canadian International Development Agency (cited by Hofstede 1991)

Habitat [UN habitations division – also publish as UNCHS, below] (1996) Press Release (available from internet – search using quote from Chapter 2 of this work.) Hofstede, Geert H (1991) Cultures and Organizations: Software of the mind, London, McGraw-Hill ICWE (International Conference on Water and the Environment) (1992) The Dublin Statement On Water And Sustainable Development Dublin, Ireland, Jan. 26 31, 1992. http://www.wmo.ch/web/homs/icwedece.html Kamar Ahmad (1984) Malay and Indonesian leadership in perspective Petaling Jaya: Ahmad Kamar Kartodirdjo, Sartono (1984) Modern Indonesia, Tradition & Transformation, A Socio-Historical Perspective, , Yogyakarta, Indonesia: Gadjah Mada University Press Khandwalla, Pradip N. (1985) ‘Pioneering innovative management: an Indian excellence’, Organization Studies, 6, 161-183. Cited by Hofstede (1991) p267, 204. Koch, Christopher J (1978) The year of living dangerously West Melbourne: Nelson. 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(Melbourne, Australia)” MacCormick AB, Economically Sustainable Storm and Wastewater Reuse in New Urban Developments, found in: ,The Second International Symposium on Urban Stormwater Management 1995 Integrated management of Urban Environments, Melbourne 11-13 July 1995, The National Committee on Water Engineering of The Institution of Engineers, Australia, Vol 1 Mehmet, Ozay (1994) ‘Rent-Seeking and Gate-Keeping in Indonesia: A Cultural and Economic Analysis’ Labour, Capital and Society 27:1 (April 1994) pp5-89 Mintzberg, Henry (1983) Structure in Fives: Designing Effective Organizations Englewood Cliffs NJ: Prentice-Hall. Navis A.A. (1994) Cerita Rakyat dari Sumatra Barat. (Folk stories from West Sumatra. Language: Indonesian) Papanek, Victor (1972) Design for the real world London: Thames and Hudson (Papanek’s first major work - note that a revised edition was published in 1983, but the first issue is referred to here for historical reasons.) Porter, Richard C (1996) The Economics of Water and Waste, A case study of Jakarta, Indonesia, Avebury Pramoedya Ananta Toer, 1955, “Letter to a Friend from the Country” in Aveling H (1976) From Surabaya to Armageddon Melbourne: Heinemann Price Waterhouse (1996) Doing business in Indonesia. New York : Price Waterhouse, Rendra, W. S. (1979) The struggle of the Naga tribe : a play transl. Max Lane [Kisah perjuangan suku Naga] St. Lucia, Qld: University of Queensland Press. Referred to by Clayton (1997) Rogge, Michael (1997) Javanese Mystical Movements http://www.xs4all.nl/~wichm/javmys1.html (revision: 12 May 1997.) Schumacher, E.F (1973) Small is beautiful : a study of economics as if people mattered London: Blond and Briggs Schrieke Indonesian sociological studies I (1955) The Hague and Bandung: van Hoeve. Cited by Anderson (1990) p46. Scoones, Ian and Frank Matose (1993) "Local Woodland Management: Constraints and Opportunities for Sustainable Resource Use" in Living with Trees: Policies for Forestry Management in Zimbabwe. P. N. Bradley and K. McNamara, Eds. World Bank Technical Paper No. 210. Washington, DC: The World Bank. Cited by World Bank (1996) Silas, Johan (1996a) Kampung Surabaya Surabaya: Surabaya Post SMH (1997) March 29, 1997 (Sydney Morning Herald. (Search for Downer, Richard Woolcott, Indonesia) Soeseno, Imam (1995) (No title) http://web.archive.org/web/20030405043806/http://www.hydroweb.com:80/indones.html, Environmental Hydrology Activities Indonesia (IAEH) Spruyt J and Robertson JB (1973) History of Indonesia, The Timeless Islands North Sydney: Macmillan Takdir Alisjahbana, Sutan (1961) Indonesia in the modern world (transl. by Benedict Anderson) New Delhi : Office for Asian Affairs, Congress for Cultural Freedom. (note: Second edition published in 1966 under title: Indonesia, social and cultural revolution) Taylor, David (1997) Agriculture: How traditional agriculture co-exists with technology in Bali (also listed as Asia/INDONESIA: Computer tells story of Bali's indigenous) Earth Times (*web address) UNCHS (United Nations Centre for Human Settlements) (1996a) An Urbanizing world: Global report on human settlements, 1996 Oxford: Oxford University Press. UNCHS (1996b) Water crisis to strike most developing world cities by 2010 http://web.archive.org/web/20110320023948/http://www.un.org:80/Conferences/habitat/unchs/press/bestpr.htm [=Habitat II – Water] UNDP (United Nations Development Program) (1995) New Directions for Technical Co-Operation Among Developing Countries http://web.archive.org/web/19970615195938/http://www.undp.org:80/tcdc/newdir.htm Vedi R. Hadiz, (1996) Our misplaced cultural sensitivity, AFR, 12 August 1996, p 17

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Interviews[edit | edit source]

As certain Australian consulting engineers expressed concern about being quoted, I have only given names where I have explicit permission. Some interviews then, are identified by code rather than name (E1 to E4).

Afifah Kusamadara, (1996) interview and other communication. Lecturer, Law Faculty, Universitas Brawijaya, (Malang?) Budiman Ignatius Pribowo (1997) Interview (Student at University of Western Sydney. Did village work experience in the 1980s as part of an agriculture degree, and encountered different forms of water technology.) Clayton, Maxwell (1997) Interview (Teacher of Indonesian at North Sydney Boys Selective* High School and author of the Leading Edge Indonesian Update) Drew, Richard (1997) Interview. Structural engineer, worked in Jakarta in high rise development consultancy with Meinhardt for one year, Sep 95-Sep 96. Was also based in Singapore for a period with French construction firm, with some contact with Indonesian projects. Currently Associate, Bonacci Winward (consultancy). E1 (1996) Interview. (Australian engineer, working as water engineering consultant in Surabaya for 6 months prior to interview) E2 (1996) interview. (Head of Surabaya office of an Indonesian engineering consultancy.) E3 (1996) Interview (Indonesian water engineering academic and researcher) E4 (1996) Interview (Water engineering manager, Surabaya, June.) Elina (1996) Interview. (Research engineer at Institute Technology Surabaya [ITS]) Jasper, Ian (1997) Interview. (Senior project manager, PT CMPS Indonesia, in water infrastructure. Has spent much of the last 23 years in Jakarta.) Mohamad, (Bapak) Interview. Pekerjaan Umum (Public Works), Cipta Karya division (the piping, infrastructure division of Public Works [PU]), Surabaya, East Java. Scouller, Bob (1996) Interview, in Jakarta. (Portfolio Management and Implementation, World Bank, Jakarta). Silas, Johan (1996b) Interview. (Professor in Architecture, Institute Technology Surabaya [ITS]) Stephanus Dharmanto (1996, 1997) Interview and other communication. (English Lecturer, Universitas Kristen Satya Wacana, Salatiga, Indonesia. Masters in American Literature, Kansas, and currently, PhD student at the University of Sydney in Indonesian Literature). Supriadi, Didy (1997) Conversations. (Indonesian student studying commerce at the University of Sydney) Supriadi and Syukur, Syuraida* (1997) Interview (Indonesian students studying commerce at the University of Sydney) Wahjono Hadi and Widiadi and Yuli (1996) (Academic researchers at the Institute Technology Surabaya [ITS]) interview, June 1996.

Template:76 references, plus 17 major interviews, - 7/11/97