Friday, August 10, 2007

Boy in a Box

Fear not -- the House of Evil (our neighbors who keep too-large mammals in too-small cages) has not acquired a new pet. This toddler was sporting a button for Jakarta gubernatorial candidate Adang Daradjatun at a recent campaign rally. I don't know what he was doing in a box, and he does look a bit young to vote, but that's his business.

The governor's race ended two days ago and it looks like, as expected, incumbent vice-governor Fauzi Bowo won. This pretty much makes me want to jump off a bridge, to the extent that it rewards the current feckless and corrupt administration. But one of my editors said back when she was working in Jakarta, Fauzi was considered to be better and brighter than the outgoing governor, Sutiyoso. One can only hope.

The election was preceded by many big rallies that were pretty fun: thumping dangdut music, kids getting sprayed with water hoses, rented buses with a jillion people on top waving banners. Luckily I haven't had to travel much lately because the roads have been totally jammed by campaign rallies. People have been calling the election offices to complain. It reminds me of New Hampshire in 2002, when would-be senator Jeanne Shaheen's phone bank kept calling people ten times a day until her own supporters threatened not to vote for her anymore.

A lot of the excitment was manufactured. The campaigns were giving people small amounts of money to wave flags and yell, which is a lot more fun than making a small amount of money driving a motorcycle taxi all day or selling cigarettes at stoplights. I suppose, if all goes as it should, the new administration will really buckle down and improve the economy so some of these people won't have to be cigarette-sellers and ojek drivers anymore. It's a nice thought, anyway, eh?


michele said...

the whole campaign process sounds pretty festive, actually... even if some of it is pre-paid enthusiasm.

your Shaheen comment reminded me of a recorded campaign call I received not long ago. it was regarding a local town office, and the candidate had his young child read the phone message promoting his father! from the sound of his voice the kid couldn't have been more than 10 or 11.

it's as if the candidate answered the challenge: if you wanted to make your pre-recorded campaign phone messages even more annoying, what would you do?

kopisusu2 said...

"If elected, I pledge to exploit my family, friends, and anyone else I can get my hands on to further the demands of my ego and my desperate grasp on political power!"

At least it's a promise most of them could keep ...