Soeharto, the 2nd Indonesian President Passed away 27 January 2008

By Nadiah Alwi - Write at Home Mom On Sunday, January 27, 2008 At 10:24 PM |

This morning, at ten o'clock, I was baking a cake for a family gathering at my Mom's. My daughter, Hana, was helping me was causing some chaos. Then, there was a news or something on TV regarding Soeharto, the dying former President of Indonesia--I didn't pay much attention because I was so busy with the eggs, flour, sugar etc.

Suddenly my daughter said, "Bunda (Bunda is an Indonesian word for Mother), Pak Suharto (Pak is Mister) passed away, you know, he was in critical condition."

I looked at her, then at the TV. It seemed like someone changed the channel. Then I said to Hana, "Oh, you're just making it up, aren't you?"

"Oh, Bunda...he was in critical condition..."

"Whatever, Hana..."

So, I went back to my baking and totally forgot about what my 3 year-old daughter had said. It wasn't that important for me, his death.

But, I was really surprised when I watched the TV at about 1.30 pm this afternoon, that he really passed away! It seems like my youngest brother heard what Hana said--he was spending the night at my place.

And, he said, "Kak (Kak/Kakak is Indonesian word for older sibling), Pak Harto died!...So, what your daughter said this morning was true. Did she have a vision or something?"

Ow, that's kinda scary for me. No, I believe my daughter was just saying it because his illness had been exposed widely on TV. Breaking news about his condition was shown almost every hour.

But, how do I feel about it--the death, I meant? Well, there are lots of things in my mind.

When I was little, at school I was taught that he was the Father of Indonesian Development. And, I saw him almost everyday on the only TV station in my country back then, TVRI. But then when I grew older, I learned other things about him. Especially when I was still a University student in 1998, the year that he finally decided to resign after the student protests and deadly riots.

When I knew that he was dying, honestly, I felt sorry for him--he was somehow part of my childhood memory as he was on TV a lot. Also now, after he is gone. He could have been remembered differently if he quitted being a president quite earlier, if he and his family--plus the people surrounding him--treated the nation differently.

But then, people have to accept the consequences of their actions--whoever they are, President or not.

I bet, now, Indonesian people are divided into two blocks. Those who still dislike him for what he did in the past and those who thought that life was easier when he was still President--now, life in Indonesia is quite rough, it is hard to make a living for a very large number of people. The second group of people just don't understand that what we are facing now has something to do with what he did.

Now, I don't know what the government will do with the legal process of his case--he was accused of corruption.

Tomorrow, he will be buried next to his wife in the central Java city of Solo. The Indonesian people are asked to have this seven-day period of mourning starting today. Too long. And, I wonder if it is necessary. I mean, why should you mourn for him for seven-day long and then still go with the trial?

Well, people come and go. That's life. It's his turn now. Tomorrow, it's somebody else's. Let's don't make a fuss about it. One day of mourning is ok, it's normal. 7 days? It's too much. Besides, Islam allows only three maximum days of mourning after someone is dead--Islam is Indonesia's dominant religion. Let Soeharto go peacefully. Too much mourning won't change anything.

It's better for Indonesians to just move ahead with their life and work hard to get out of the big problems.

*I write this journal only because of what my daughter said this morning.*

*My 8 year-old cousin protested the non-stop news on Soeharto's death on TV, she couldn't watch her favorite program because of that...poor her.*

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Blogger HLiza Says:

My deepest condolence to Indonesia. But life goes on..
PS: I'm coming to Jakarta from 24th-26th Feb for some recertification. The schedule is quite tight but it'll be nice if I can see you. I have no idea yet where I'm staying but do pass me your contact no in my e-mail ( case I can call you or even meet you..(if you don't mind meeting an old 'kakak' like me).

Blogger NoorIntan Says:

My friends reactions were the same. By the second day of his death they've had enough of hearing it on the news, like every hour...

Coincidently, I was just thinking the same about the death of Heath Ledger. He was on the news constantly here in Australia, as if he was a hero of something. In fact he died accidentally of overdose.

As you said, people come and go I don't think it is necessary to continuously making it a public mourning for 7 days. As for Heath Ledger, I think it sells the papers/magazine and helping with television ratings. That's why it went on and on for days.


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