Kimberly Angela Antonio, an aspiring interior designer, currently studying in University of Technology, Sydney. Born and raised in Jakarta, Kimberly has recently moved to Sydney in 2013, this give her a good grasp of the culture in both Indonesia and Australia. She has also interned for Willis Kusuma Architects as an interior designer last year.
Don: Hi Kimberly, What have you been up to lately?
Kimberly: I just came back from Jakarta not long ago, I interned with Willis Kusuma for a couple of months.
Don: Great! Can you tell me more about the working culture back in Indonesia?
Kimberly: There is a very top-down hierarchical management system whereby the management level makes most decisions without consulting the workers.
Don: Can you elaborate more on the differences between Australia and Indonesia?
Kimberly: In terms of working culture, Australians are more receptive to different ideas, they tend to discuss in groups and make a decision cohesively. Everyone can contribute ideas without feeling pressurize.
Don: So what is the driving factor to the differences?
Kimberly: Indonesian tends to misuse their power when they have it; they tend to make decision for their own benefits. Not all Indonesian are like that, this is just based on my working relationship with them. Another point to take note is there is a huge social gap in Indonesia such as financial and educational differences.
Through this interview, I understand that social differences play a big part in every culture. In my opinion, the bigger the social gap is, the harder it is for the country to progress. There are a number of challenges that causes inequality in Indonesia; although statistics shows that the poverty rates were greatly reduced, Wilson (2011) observed that the statistics do not seem to reflect the real life situation that is happening when he was in Jakarta. He reasoned that this is due to concealment of inequality problems by the government since the Suharto era and many elites benefit greatly from it by taking up a huge chunk of the national income in order for them to maintain their lavish lifestyle (Wilson 2011). Another problem for the government is to create “sustainable job opportunities for low income family” (Wilson 2011). The difference between escalating growth of capital-intensive sectors and minimal growth of labour-intensive sector will cause the inequality to widen due to an imbalanced growth pattern.
With all these problems, there is some catching up to do. However, the future seems brighter after President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo is elected, he recently proposed to amend the state budget such as increasing tax revenue and increased the budget for upgrading of infrastructure (Misbakhun 2015). All these important changes show Jokowi’s commitment to close the gap between low-income people and in my opinion; Indonesia is heading the right direction under the leadership of Jokowi. As Misbakhun (2015) said “His great vision and humbleness is surely not artificial but should be reflected upon his leadership”. There is certainly hope and expectation for the people of Indonesia.
– Dehong Tay, 11620717
- Misbakhun 2015, Jokowi’s first budget: Between optimism and new, viewed 25 April 2015<http://m.thejakartapost.com/news/2015/01/23/jokowi-s-first-budget-between-optimism-and-new-hopes.html>
- Luebke v C 2011, Inequality, viewed 25 April 2015<http://www.insideindonesia.org/inequality>
- Wikipedia 2005, Jakarta Slumlife, viewed 25 April 2015<http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Jakarta_slumlife14.JPG>
- Global Indonesia Voice 2014, Jokowi Officially Indonesia’s Next President, viewed 25 April 2015<http://www.globalindonesianvoices.com/15149/hasil-mk-constitutional-court-rejects-prabowos-petition-jokowi-officially-indonesias-next-president/>