Swing State November 2020 Commentary by Wayne Forrest The US election has been focused on swing states, key places where our two political parties contest for electoral votes every four years. Even more than it may have in the past, the US government now sees Indonesia as a swing state, important in our own
Labor Day 2020 September 2020 Commentary by Wayne Forrest With unemployment at record levels in both the US and Indonesia amidst an ongoing pandemic I've been reflecting on Indonesia's struggle to find meaningful employment for her growing population of 270 million. Of course, our two nations do not share Labor Day: Indonesia observes International
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