Rays of Hope July 2020 Commentary by Wayne Forrest, President We're close to America's Independence Day, typically a time of public celebrations, parties, and mass gatherings. Of course, this year these events honoring the birth of our democracy are severely hampered by the pandemic. Indonesia modeled its Republic on ours, but only in part.
The Souls of Two Pilots June 2020 Commentary by Wayne Forrest, President Over the past few months I have been trying to make sense of our current pandemic and find a coherent truth in the cacophony of news reports and government policies. How is our economy going to open ? What are we doing about
Disruption Commentary by Wayne Forrest A popular Indonesian cartoon that has emerged since the onset of the coronavirus (COV-19) shows a series of boxes filled with various symptoms (severe cough, joint pain, runny nose, stomach ache, fever, headache, etc.) with lines all connecting to one containing the cause: masuk angin. Literally meaning the wind
Preserve Reformasi Commentary by Wayne Forrest Things can come suddenly in Indonesia. If you haven’t been observing Indonesia closely since President Jokowi was reelected with a solid mandate in April, you might think that things would be going well for him leading up to his October 20 inauguration. But you would be wrong, the
Election Idul Fitri Commentary by Wayne Forrest Indonesians have begun the mass movement (mudik) that occurs annually at the conclusion of Ramadhan, the holy fasting month. Idul Fitri/Lebaran is a back-to-one’s-roots moment relocating millions out cities to be with their families. Jakarta suddenly becomes a quiet, small town. The holiday’s message of peace, inclusiveness,
Commentary by Wayne Forrest It keeps happening over successive Indonesian presidencies: a transformational figure is elected (Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Joko Widodo) who appoints transformational ministers, who propose reforms. But, then things bog down. Frustration sets in, or the person leaves the Cabinet. Growth atrophies and the language of discourse remains in the pluperfect tense.
The principals of 5 US-Indonesia organizations with Vice President Jusuf Kalla and US Ambassador Joseph Donovan Commentary by Wayne Forrest Indonesia seemed to be exhibiting multiple personalities during my visit last week as it simultaneously hosted a major athletic event(Asian Para Olympic Games) and banking event (World bank/IMF Annual Meetings) while organizing
REMOVING A PEBBLE IN THE SHOE Commentary by Wayne Forrest Back in the Soeharto era, Indonesia’s very gifted diplomat, Ali Alatas, used to say about East Timor ( a province with a strong separatist movement that caused major diplomatic problems) that it was “the pebble in Indonesia’s shoe”. East Timor achieved independence after Soeharto’s
Which Way is the Wind Blowing by Wayne Forrest Recently Moody’s and Fitch curiously upgraded their Indonesia sovereign rating while the government fixed energy and electricity prices for two years, placing the large obligations of state-owned Pertamina and PLN at risk. Meanwhile the rupiah and stock market indexes are trending south but Bank Indonesia
Commentary by Wayne Forrest When President Jokowi took office in 2014 he opened his arms wide to foreign investment, ended the costly energy subsidies, announced that building critically needed infrastructure would be his priority, and set 7% GDP growth as his 5-year goal. A key part of the plan was to build an additional