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A letter to the PSI leadership

Tempo - February 21, 2024

Jakarta – An imaginary letter from Indonesian comedian Komeng to the Indonesian Solidarity Party leadership. The irony of a party becoming a wet nurse to the government.

Sis Grace and friends in the Indonesian Solidarity Party (PSI). Forgive my impudence writing this letter. My name is Komeng. I am not a politician. I am a comedian. Perhaps February 14, 2024, will become a historic day for me. According to the General Election Commission, as of three days after the election, I had received almost 1.5 million votes – the highest number in the West Java electoral region.

Therefore, soon, God willing, I will become a member of the Regional Representatives Council (DPD). I do not have any high-sounding programs. I just want September 27 to become National Comedy Day because it is the birthday of comedian Bing Slament. We have a Hari Guru, or Teachers' Day, as well as a Music Day (Hari Musik) and a Poetry Day (Hari Puisi) – as well as Harry Moekti and Harry Potter.

One thing that would make me proud if I become a senator is that I never tried to find backers. I never begged for votes. I did not support the President being reelected after two terms. And I never established a party, yet alone sold it to people with money. And I did not nag the President to allow one of his children to become chair of my party.

I never campaigned, and my photo was not displayed by the side of the road and on trees. Apparently, people voted for me because of my funny picture on the ballot paper. Thanks be to God, I am well known as a comedian. I did ask my friends to hand out my photo to voters, but they just printed passport-size pictures. Who paid attention to such small pictures? Therefore, I was jealous seeing photos of attractive, smart and similar-looking PSI candidates everywhere.

On Java's north coast road, there were banners of you guys one after the other. In villages as far as eastern Indonesia, the party of Sis Grace was sold from door to door. I do not know how much it costs to print so many banners. And I do not know who put them up or who paid for them. I do not want to tell tales out of school, but I heard government officials helped with the PSI logistics.

When it was established in 2014, the PSI had a noble aim: to work for politics based on solidarity for humanity. Formed by young people, Sis Grace's party was full of enthusiasm. The use of 'sis' and 'bro' as terms of address for party managers reminded me of my grandmother's time when everybody called each other 'bung' as a sign of equality.

But when it came to looking for a leader, the PSI suddenly got old. You accepted Kaesang Pangarep, Jokowi's youngest son, as party leader without any consideration of merit. It was only New Order parties that had leaders dropped in from above. OMG Sis, you have to be a member for months even to become a leader of a youth organization at a local level.

Under Kaesang's leadership, the PSI received many privileges. Banners with photos of the President and Mas Kaesang ensured that they caught the eye of many. With so many people being satisfied with Jokowi's performance, your party should have got a lot of votes. However, in the first quick counts from a number of independent pollsters, it seems the PSI only got 2.9 percent. This will not be enough for seats at Senayan, because the party needs at least 4 percent of the national vote.

I never heard the PSI loudly complaining about this high threshold. Perhaps your party lacked confidence. Or it could have been overconfident. PSI elites claimed the party would exceed the threshold. I pray it succeeds. I cannot wait to meet with Sis and her friends in Senayan. But if the PSI does not make it, at least we can meet for a cup of coffee in Patal Senayan. Uhuy!

– Read the complete story in Tempo English Magazine

Source: https://en.tempo.co/read/1836168/a-letter-to-the-psi-leadershi