safer and more enjoyable for everybody!
"Transparency" is a very trendy word in Jakarta these days, partly fueled by the anti-corruption organization Transparency International. The government never makes a move without declaring its commitment to being transparent, i.e. open and accountable, while newspapers like mine are constantly criticizing things for insufficient transparency.
The other day Chad went to a press conference. The reporters were firing all sorts of questions at a government official about the workings of his agency. Finally the exasperated official said, "We are transparent, but not completely transparent!"
When Chad told me about this later, it hit us. What the world really needs is a Translucency International: the organization for people who want to be a little bit open. Open enough to look like you're trying, perhaps, but not so open as to actually shake things up and cause everybody a lot of messy, embarrassing problems.
Translucency International could hold workshops on How to Hype Meaningless Statistics at Press Conferences, or How to Hold a Public Meeting while Actually Making Decisions Behind Closed Doors.
I'm not saying this is a purely developing-world concept, either. I'm sure the U.S. Congress and several generations of White House operatives could provide valuable expertise.
As a nonprofit organization, this is a guaranteed cash cow. What government, corporation or (gasp!) NGO wouldn't sign up? So here's your chance to get in on the ground floor of a burgeoning sociopolitical movement. Nominations for the Translucency board, along with discreet (dare I say translucent?) gifts, are now being accepted.