According to Chinese traditional beliefs, 2013 is the year of the water snake. That means it will be a tricky year. With the snake, it’s not always easy to tell which direction it is going to go in. That will probably be the same with the year 2013. It will seem to go in one direction and then, very unexpectedly, veer in a completely different direction.
It’s a year that will be full of uncertainty and surprises, whether political, social or economic.
The Mayan calendar got it wrong because the world didn’t end in 2012. Nostradamus’ predictions of wars and disasters in the 21st century have yet to be proved.
Now, according to Chinese mythology, 2012 might have brought great fortunes to some, but the larger number of less-privileged Indonesians have yet to taste the fruits of developments.
The year 2012 witnessed a lot of indecisiveness, economic slowdown, political mayhem, rampant corruption, infrastructure standstill, religious intolerance and the most fearsome of all, communal conflicts.
Unless 2013 is manoeuvred right, Indonesia will see consumerism taking over the Pancasila ideology and failing exports will turn the country into a dumping ground for electronics, fruits and vegetables, and even batik from China.
The government has no option but to raise fuel prices and electricity tariffs in 2013 to survive, despite the adverse impact it might have on the people. The building of infrastructure, which lacked progress in 2012, must be revitalised in 2013 or the MP3EI concept will be nothing.
Labour disputes will continue to be an issue as employers and labour unions exchange threats of shutdowns and mass protests that could cripple the economy.
The political scene, meanwhile, will heat up for sure by too many candidates jockeying for the presidency. Only a few will meet the electability criteria to run but many will be forcing their own will to run. They are the leaders of the same old political parties that lost to President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and the Democratic Party in 2009. And it seems the condition will not change. Meanwhile, 2013 will also see 15 regional elections, some of them potentially chaotic.
The most influential political kingmaker in 2013 will be Megawati Sukarnoputri of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) after her success in nominating Joko Widodo as governor of Jakarta in 2012. She is now experimenting with female leaders running for various gubernatorial posts such as Rieke Diah Pitaloka in West Java, Rustriningsih in Central Java and Khofifah Indar Parawansa in East Java. Megawati will be throwing her weight behind Khofifah, who is a Gus Dur disciple, and a former women’s empowerment minister with high electability ratings.
Land reform is another issue that will undoubtedly raise its head during this year. Unless the issue is addressed and proper decisions are implemented, communal conflicts could become rampant, especially in the regions where the local people have been deprived of their right to land for so long.
Yudhoyono ordered immediate action to solve this problem in 2012, but like in so many other areas, his instructions were met with deaf ears.
Revelations of rampant corruption will reach new heights. The Bank Century case will once again resurface and might implicate many more high-level officials.
Another issue is religious intolerance, which was all but ignored in 2012. Indonesia needs to fix its deficient security situation, weed out terrorism and rid itself of lax law enforcement. The culprits involved in outrageous crimes must be punished.
Although 2012 has not been a year of utmost joy and jubilation for Indonesia, the year 2013 will hopefully be more fortunate and bring less hardship. Even though in Chinese mythology the year of the water snake is a year of obstacles and shake-ups that traditionally brings many challenges and disasters, Indonesia greets the new year with optimism