October 19, 2011

Do We Only See What We Expect to See?

A question: When was the last time you heard a planned government policy and thought to yourself: Now that will work out well? Personally, it seems like ages ago, and I don’t think I’ve been optimistic about government policies in Jakarta or the rest of Indonesia for a long time. For example, the first thought that entered my mind when I read the planned MRT system in Jakarta (keep in mind, I’m a big public transport enthusiast) was, “It’ll probably fail.”

I don’t think I’m alone in this regard – every time I read articles on Indonesian government policy on local news sites, there’s always a flurry of comments that criticize and decry those policies as massive wastes of time.

Case in point: There was an article recently on a proposed parking fee increase in malls from Rp 2000 to Rp 5000 (from 25 cents to 60 cents). The article mentioned that malls felt the need to increase the fees in order to break even, and the government was in support of this – the comments section was full of accusations that the greedy government and mall operators were just trying to find more ways to extort mall-goers.



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