Friday, May 06, 2016


An Indonesian Way Of Doing Things

I'm English. I come from a country with long, deep democratic traditions. When someone tells us to do something we do it. We are told to jump, we ask how high. When Sky tells us the game will kick off at 4pm on Sunday we send a few angry tweets then check the train timetable. When the police tell us we must go the long way round to the stadium we share a joke with them 'cos that is the way we English are.

We do what we are told by those in positions of authority. Yes, we gripe and moan but only 'cos we  know it won't do any good. We know no one listens to us. Football clubs don't. TV stations don't. And the old bill don't.

In Indonesia things are a little bit different. We may be 18 years into life as a democratic nation but many still remember the Suharto era and the repression that bought.There are still plenty of people around who benefited from that time and those who expected to benefit from it and are waiting their turn.

But they do have some traditions that survived the autocratic era that I think would make good exports. One is the idea of Musyawarah which roughly translates as consulting where different parties sit down together and have a natter on a topic of common interest. After the Musyawarah they, ideally, come to a Mufakat or agreement.

Indeed the first president of Indonesia, post independence, Soekarno, saw parliament as being a place for Musyawarah which would lead to Mukafat.

And this is what often happens in Indonesian football. Just last week, with most of the talk in Makassar revolving around the future, or lack of it, of coach Luciano Leandro, the club, local police and fans sat together to draw up a plan for ensuring security at this weekend's game with Persela. Now the visitors are unlikely to travel in any large number but I do like the of all concerned stakeholders sitting down together and sharing ideas of how to organise an event.

In England it would be the club who would sit down with the police and the local authority to arrange this. As fans we aren't expected to have opinions and anyway these people are the supposed experts. Who are we to judge them. We are just the people at the bottom of the pile who pay their wages. In Indonesia at least fans are respected and involved in discussions that effect them and I think that is a nice little tradition we could perhaps take something from.

Talking PSM, their tough tackling midfielder, Syamsul Chaeruddin, who has been there off and on yonks, is getting married today I believe but will still line up for his beloved team tomorrow, no doubt with a quick peck on the cheek and a 'see ya later, love' to his newly betrothed.

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