Despite widely held grievances against corruption, a growing culture of violence and rising intolerance, the vast majority of Indonesians are proud of who they are, according to the results of a survey released on Monday.
The poll by the Developing Country Study Center Indonesia showed that 83 percent of respondents polled said they were proud to be Indonesian.
Only 6 percent of respondents said they were not proud to be Indonesian, while 11 percent said they were unsure. The survey was conducted by DCSC Indonesia to gauge public perception regarding nationalism in conjunction with the anniversary of the Youth Pledge on Oct. 28 and National Heroes’ Day, on Nov. 10.
Zaenal A. Budiyono, the executive director of the study center, said the majority of respondents claiming to be proud Indonesians were proud because the country was their motherland, while others reveled in the fact that the country was rich in natural resources. Some 12 percent reported being proud of the nation’s diversity.
“This point on diversity should be brought to the attention of the government and the political elite, to show them that Indonesians really do view their country as being historically a nation that respects diversity,” Zaenal said.
He added that current threats to diversity and tolerance should thus be seen as serious issues and immediately resolved to ensure the continued integrity of the state.
Asked which persons or institutions made them proudest to be Indonesian, respondents cited political leaders (21 percent), famous athletes (14 percent) and noted artists (13 percent) among their inspirations.
“It has to be acknowledged that the ranks of inspirational figures are no longer dominated by the likes of politicians, officials, diplomats or the military,” Zaenal said.
“The public now sees athletes as a major source of pride. So it’s no wonder that every time the national football team plays a game, the feeling of nationalism vividly comes to the surface.”
Despite the overall feeling of pride in the country, there was not as much optimism in the respondents’ view of the country’s current situation and its future prospects. Only 53 percent said they approved of the direction the country was headed in, while 40 percent disapproved.
Lili Romli, a political analyst at the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI), said this was cause for the government to be concerned.
“Those who don’t approve are outnumbered by those who do, but they make up a large figure notwithstanding,” he said.
“It’s up to the government, law enforcement agencies and politicians to improve, so that there is greater optimism among the people about the country’s future.”
Responses on the Jakarta Globe’s Facebook page to the survey also reflected a sense of pride in the country, but not in its management.
“I am very proud to be Indonesian, but sometimes I am deeply embarrassed by the behavior of some Indonesians (read: government),” Herdian Nugroho wrote.
Istanto Kumbara wrote: “I am proud of Indonesia as my native land, but a BIG NO to the government. No offense.”
Other questioned the findings. “Political elites score highly. And at the same time they are the main cause of why we are being ashamed. The irony couldn’t be greater,” Calvin de Wilde said.
News sources: Antara, JG