Some additional thoughts on the Indonesian experience
Indonesia made an impact on most of us from the moment we got there. For one thing we all became millionairres overnight as we exchanged dollars for Indonesian currency. The rate fluctuates from Rs. 10,500 to the dollar to around Rs. 12,000 to the dollar. I never thought I would spend hundreds of thousands on a meal, a journey from the airport to the hotel or for anything really.
What we have all been trying to rationalize is how Jakarta has managed to clean up their act – great infrastructure, good roads, buses in bus-only lanes, motorbikes in separate lanes, no encroachments, no obvious pollution, no graffiti. How did they do this? Jakarta, like Karachi, is heavily populated too. Some years ago Jakarta was very very different. Perhaps a case study of it might help us understand the phenomenon, and learn from it. Couldn’t really be rocket science.
At the APICTA gala dinner on the night of the 15th we realized how committed the Indonesian government is to developing their IT sector. The Vice President of the Republic of Indonesia was himself present at the Awards night and shook hands with the winners in all 16 categories. Also present was the Minister for IT and the Director General, in addition to the head of Aspiluki, the industry association.
In his speech the VP invited people from the region to come and invest in the Indonesian IT sector and also spoke about the opportunities available to companies who had expertise in various segements of IT strategy, development and deployment. He said the Indonesian government recognized that it was development and support of the IT sector that would spur the Indonesian economy.
He showed his sense of humour when he commented on APICTA Chairman Stephan Lau’s comment regarding the Jakarta traffic jams, by saying that he hoped that the traffic jams would continue because they showed that the Indonesian economy was thriving. He remembered the Asian Economic Tsunami when the roads were devoid of cars and traffic jams were just a memory.
He also said that Indonesia was also trying to promote copyright protection in a country where copyright, to most people, means ‘a right to copy’. This drew guffaws from the crowd as I am sure he meant it to.
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