Senin, 23 Mei 2016
Merebut Kelas Menengah
Gerry van Kilnken and Ward Berenschot dalam In Search of Middle Indonesia: Middle Classes in Provincial Town, 2014 menegaskan bahwa pascca reformasi tahun 1998, politik lokal membawa kembali kota-kota menengah ke tengah panggung perpolitikan Indonesia. Kelas menengah Indonesia yang sudah mencapai 43 persen dari total penduduk, 250 juta jiwa. Kelas menengah Indonesia telah membangkitkan kekuatan politik baru. Kekuatan demokrasi suatu bangsa juga sangat ditentukan oleh seberapa banyak jumlah dan partisipasi Kelas menengahnya. Amerika, Kanada, Australia dan Singapura kuat dalam berdemokrasi karena negara-negara ini memiliki jumlah kelas menengah yang siginifikan. Menarik untuk mencermati catatan Hans Nicholas Jong dalam mengomentari pandangan Gerry van Klinken di The Jakarta Post dengan judul:Indonesian democracy on track: Researcher. A non-Indonesian Indonesianist is optimistic about Indonesia's path of democratization. Democracy in the country is sustainable thanks to the growing middle class, says Gerry van Klinken, a senior researcher at the KITLV ( Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies ). He said Indonesia had proven wrong some experts'prediction that democracy in the world's largest majority-Muslim population would fail. This was due to the middle class, which suddenly became very influential after the fall of the Soeharto regime in 1998. 'This whole idea that we used to have that Indonesian culture is too traditional to be interested in democracy is no longer applicable. That was probably suitable for a time when Indonesia was mainly rural and people were living in their villages and masih bodoh [still stupid]. But that idea is completely out of date now,'Klinken said during a visit to The Jakarta Post on Friday. According to him, who is also a professor of Southeast Asian history at the University of Amsterdam, middle-class citizens like democracy as it gives them more power. 'They especially like it, because democracy gives them the chance to hit back at Jakarta,'said Klinken. While middle class Indonesians enjoyed democracy, they also used their political skills and clientelistic networks to make the system work to their advantage, the expert explained. 'They really control their districts, because they control the informal economy. It makes it difficult for someone from Jakarta to come and say 'I want to do this' and do a project there. It might be sabotaged if the people there disagree. So it is better to work together and spread the money around,'Klinken said. He came to that conclusion after studying the middle class in provincial towns of Indonesia in a research project called 'In Search of Middle Indonesia' from 2006 to 2012. The research categorized half of the country's population as middle class. The main warning from our research is to not assume that the middle class is only the richest 10 percent,' Klinken said. Therefore, the middle class is characterized by its more conservative mindset. 'They will always be more conservative than the cosmopolitan elite who travel all the time to New York or London and have only a shortage of time, not money. But for the rest, for whom Indonesia is their home, or their province is their home, of course, their world is smaller than that of the 10 percent. That means they will seem more conservative to us,'said Klinken. Besides that, the middle class in Indonesia really loves the state, unlike the middle class in the US, according to him. The Dutch researcher was of the opinion that the middle class in Indonesia also resisted rather than welcomed globalized, open markets. Seharusnya lembaga pendidikan tinggi di Indonesia menyasar dan memperbanyak jumlah kelas menengah. Agas Indonesia kuat dan bermartabat.