December 24, 2008

Daniel Johan, A Next Step Of A Fight

I have a friend. His name is Daniel Johan, one of my best friends. I first met him in 1990. He is my senior in high school. He is the one who introducing me to organization world seriously. We were active and fought together in a Buddhist student organization, known as HIKMAHBUDHI (The Union of Indonesian Buddhist Students). For me, he is a best friend and a teacher.

He was born in a middle class family with trader background; he is the youngest of 6. His life was normal. He has never tasted poor life but he really cared about poverty in this country. He grew up in a good community and supportive family. However, he was autonomous and at the same time he had an internal fight in his mind. He saw corruptions, poverty, and injustice gripped Indonesian people and he could not stand it. He likes books. They shaped his personality and character. He read many good inspiring books and articles. Several public figures become his model. Gusdur (K.H. Abdurrahman Wahid), Kwik Kian Gie, Romo Mangunwijaya are some of them. Slowly but sure he grew as a strong and idealist personality.

We, together with our other friends in organization, have dreams. Big dreams actually. We want to see someday a Buddhist activist, someone from us maybe, which is idealist, intellect, honest, has strong principle, reborn to become an honest politic figure. Why? What for? Because we want somebody to fight for our community, for our interest, and for this nation in an honest and good way. There are to much dirty politicians in this country. A dream, which in our time, felt like a wild fantasy.

Yes, I said fantasy because we belong to the minority community in this country. We are of Chinese ethnics and we are Buddhists. But we are nationalists as well. We love this country very much, and we love and care for our people and our nation. So, when we were active in organization, we learn and fight together to lay a new paradigm and strong foundation in our organization. We want to build a strong, inclusive, nation care organization, with Buddhists value as a basic of course. In this fight we had to face our own community, which had an old- fashioned vision about Buddhist student organization. But finally we did it! We opened ourselves to other student organization, from other religion and nationalist background, including overseas Buddhist organizations like International Network of Engaged Buddhists (INEB). We interact and cooperate with them to give our best contribution to this beloved country.

We fought together for our freedom against President Suharto. We demonstrate and support the student movement against the New Order regime. We risk our life by going down to the street at May ‘98 Riot incident. Daniel is one of my friends who convinced me that this was the time for us to go down to the street and fought together, not hiding in a fake peace at our home. But that was some years ago.

Now, we walk on our own path. I and several friends now are living and working as an ordinary good citizens. But we are actually never separated. We still bound in the same dream and vision. We still keep in touch and meet in time to time in a small working group.

But only my friend, Daniel Johan, who is still consistent in our path. He still becomes an activist. He keeps our contacts from other activists. Like one of our friends says, he took the next step in his fight for the people in need. He joined Partai Kebangkitan Bangsa (PKB) – The Nation Awakening Party- as a vice secretary general. He joined this party because he believes in it. This party has the same vision with his. This party was built by Gusdur, a person who consistently fights against discrimination and always defends minority. The chairman of this party, Muhaimin Iskandar, is our friend from Indonesian Islamic Student Movement (PMII), a student organization under Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), when we were active in student organization.

For 2009 election, Daniel is become a candidate of member of Indonesian parliament (DPR) from election area Jakarta 3, he is in no. 2 candidate. His vision in his campaign is “Safe Mother Nation, Prosper the Children of Nation”. He has a website to introduce himself and to pour his mind and opinion to public. You can visit or you can click his link in ‘Partners’ column in my sidebar.

I think it is the time for Indonesia to give a chance to a young man like Daniel. Young blood who has new vision, fresh spirit and idealism to reform Indonesian, to face a better look and a better way as well as to regenerate our leaders and our representatives. There are too much dirty politicians in this country; it is the time for them to step back. Let just hope that these young politicians; our young representatives will be still idealistic and keep their honesty in this absurd politics world.

Like a Lotus which is still clean and pure in mud.

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