Tuesday, December 1, 2009


Tifatul Sembiring's response on the news reaction to his sermon in Padang: "Saya seperti melakukan 'menyalahkan para korban' jika kesimpulan diambil dari berita-berita tersebut. Padahal tak ada sedikitpun dalam naskah saya bermaksud seperti itu."

From BBC: "A government minister has blamed Indonesia's recent string of natural disasters on people's immorality."

From Jakarta Globe: "[Tifatul Sembiring] saying natural disasters were the result of poor moral values."

So his accusation towards the news channel is mistargeted, as I don't recall any of these news channel that I read quoting him of blaming the quake victims (the commentary from people in twitter is another matter*). He 'merely' made an unwarranted assumption.

These are from his sermon text: "Sesungguhnya ada korelasi langsung atau tak langsung, ada hubungan yang kuat antara musibah fisik dengan musibah moral atau akhlak manusia." Which to me is like saying there is either a direct or non-direct correlation between severe weather with our dress code. In other words, balderdash. It really doesn't mean anything--or can mean anything.

Further, "Sering terjadi bencana, sebab akhlak manusia yang telah rusak." Now he's asserting something. Any half-decent adjudicator (or any educated individual, really) would demand for elaboration and causal link. He spoke earlier of "gempa di NAD dan Nias ... Dan baru saja berselang gempa di Sumatera Barat, ditanah Minang."

So here are the details: "Tengoklah bagaimana kerusakan moral di negeri ini: Baru-baru ini diungkapkan data, bahwa ada 500 jenis VCD porno buatan Indonesia sendiri yang sudah beredar diperjual belikan. Korupsi meraja lela, Indonesia mendapat ranking no 1 terkorup di Asia, dan no 3 terkorup di dunia.**" And it goes on. But that's all. no appeal to logic or anything***. And this is from a minister. In communication, no less.

I mean, really, Sir? Ring of Fire? Fault lines? Ring any bell? What about some solid scientific basis offered by a govt official for a change from the usual scaremongering? (Which is never effective, btw.) Indonesian have been dumbed down by the constant stream of sinetron. If anything, some example from the higher-ups in being rational (and exemplary) would be much appreciated.****

To be fair, this is not unprecedented. A search of "siti supari nuttiness" in Google brought me to this page here. Worthy of quote: "the Indonesian Health Minister is an unconstructive, ignorant, often irrational and bizarre individual." Thankfully, she has been replaced in the new cabinet now. How SBY considers the men (and women) for his cabinet will always be a mystery. And as their boss, he seems to be OK to let this people make Indonesia a laughingstock. No wonder we had #cuih hashtag in Twitter (I didn't vote in presidential election, but I voted his party on legislative election. This blog here was one of my reasons.).

I personally agrees with Rorschach of Watchmen who said that, "It rains on the just and unjust alike."

* commentary of which I tend to agree. Using linear reasoning based on his assertion that moral decadence causes disaster, or in reverse: disaster will strike those with corrupted moral. Because disaster struck Padang and Nias and Bengkulu, people afflicted with disaster must have been morally corrupt. So if the minister blames moral decadence as the root of disaster, he may as well said that the victims of the quake are to blame for the quake.
** a factual error. Or rather, overusing obsolete facts. Most recent one, spotted in Time, can be found here. I tip my proverbial hat to Karmen. At any rate, corruption does not, and I suspect, will not be the cause of natural disaster. If anything, what it does is escalating the impact of the disaster when it strikes. Man-made disaster is of another matter (still remember Lusi? The govt has all but neglected them).
*** though I can't help but wonder, he knows the number of local porn production but wasn't aware of Blogger's Report Abuse button? Instead he chose to order ISPs to censor access to a certain blog. I read an excellent blog post about that in my RSS reader but now I can't find it. Tsk.
**** Recent confusion caused by MUI on 2012 movie doesn't help. A good read on this issue can be found in here.


Intan Alasdair said...

Well put, my friend. :)

hilmy said...

Thanks Intan! I was bewildered after reading TS's Facebook note.
On a lighter side, I think the fact that people can criticize (and poke fun) an official without fear is something to be grateful of.