Why Do Many Indonesians Love to Corrupt? (Reflection to Employers and Government)

At first I wondered why do many Indonesians really love corruption, collusion and nepotism. After entering the labor force, finally I know why.


Compared to any ASEAN country, salaries of workers in Indonesia are among the LOWEST though our nation is the most advanced economy in ASEAN. Employers usually make excuses like CAN’T AFFORD to pay their workers highly. But Helloooo …. why entrepreneurs in other countries can pay their workers in decent salaries? And they are not very rich country either. Thailand even pays their workers min. 300 dollar or 3 million rupiah while the Indonesia wage standart only 80 up to 160 dollar or half of it! And in fact the employers lead a VERY LUXURY life. Gap between the rich and the poor in Indonesia is VERY BIG!

Imagine how absurd it is! Even in Surabaya which in fact is the second largest city in Indonesia, BACHELOR DEGREE IS PAID IN MINIMUM WORKERS STANDART WAGE! Rumor said that labor or high school graduates earn less than that or less than minimum wage. WTF!

I wonder, other than the employer or senior level employees, HOW INDONESIANS CAN AFFORD THEIR LIFE COST? My calculation:

Standard minimum wage for Surabaya in 2012 (1.3 million rupiah/140 dollar or so –> 1 dollar is more or less 9000  rupiah by now)

-Room rent: 300,000 (cheapest)

-Eat: 7000 (cheapest takeway food) x 30 x 3 = 630 000

-Transport: 100,000 (on a motorcycle, if the office’s near)

Buy cellphone credit: a minimum of 50,000 (dependent, really, it can be less or more or not having any)

-Cost of toiletry (powder, soap, cosmetics): 100,000 (if it is I am who is a girl)

Remaining: 120,000 rupiah / 13 dollar or so

Imagine, what 120,000 rupiah can do? We certainly want to save some of the salary too. And how if we want to taking a walk, to the mall or else? FYI, the price of food in the mall of Surabaya usually 20 000 or more. If it were me then it will be minimum of 50 000 for either buying magazines, snacks, etc. Well, you can imagine how  lack is the income to us, that in fact live the moderate lifestyle! It means that if you want to survive then you must often fast or eat very very simple food (something like tempe) And the above is estimated for single people. How about the married ones and the ones with kids? How the employee can pay for education and the needs of their families, including entertainment?

While employers have some supercars at the same time, with children studying abroad and wifes bought a bag for 600 million rupiah ($60.000) because they don’t know anymore how to spend their much money,their workers must scavenge from their prosperity. I think entrepreneurs in Indonesia are VERY STINGY to share profits with their staff! They think that the only ones who need a decent life are them and their families alone. They are very effective and efficient in hiring employees, eventhough it is the worker that helps them make a profit! No wonder poverty is rampant in Indonesia despite having made it into the G20 or number 16 in world’s GDP.  Because of this!

The Government had come to support the employer’s decision to make a policy of very small nominal minimum wage. Whether they are together in this or not, I think the minimum wage is not in favor of the welfare of workers.

The same also applies to civil servants. They have to accept very low wages. Although supported by a variety of benefits, still it’s less to meet their needs, which is very expensive.

Back to the point earlier, this is why many people of Indonesia corrupt, because their needs are not enough funded by salary. Their salaries mostly only cover for food or primary needs, even it’s so difficult to pay for a shelter to live, let alone education or entertainment. While they do not just need food, but also entertainment so they are not crazy for their life’s burden. But because their income is stuck up there, they finally take the unlawful order to survive. Moreover, Indonesia is usually emphasizes the prestige and the outside view, so they have to come up with the latest goods or gadgets. Besides, the ones who want to taste a luxurious life are not only the employers. Everyone also wants to know how it is felt to have a nice car, a big home, travelling to overseas, or dining in a delicious and expensive restaurant. But because there is no money, how else they would afford it, then? Yes, corruption is the only way!

Moreover, Indonesia’s culture of mutual help is deeply ingrained to the extent that for any ugliness they will keep doing that. No wonder mark-up is widespread in all over Indonesia. Do not expect corruption to be eradicated from Indonesia if the employee income is still low!

For Indoesian employers, please think about this carefully. When you’re sleeping on soft mattresses in air-conditioned rooms, perhaps there are many of your employees must sleep on thin mattresses or without a mattress in the stuffy room. When you eat in restaurants with food prices reach millions, maybe there are your employees who don’t eat that day in order to pay his children’s school fees. When you are planning to buy a car collection worth billions for the umpteenth, maybe the kids of your employees are crying because their parents can afford to buy car toys. And the analogy continues. The question is: Can you live happy in the suffering of others? After all why you should accumulate so much wealth that will not be spent in your life time? Is not it far more better if the fortune you don’t need is for increasing the welfare of your employees? Besides of being good, you will also avoid the social problems such as corruption. Or even a crime. Remember, crime is also born out of poverty. If you still do not care, then I can do no more. Maybe in this world you will live full of luxury, but in the afterlife, God will question it. And the pray of persecuted people will tend to be granted by God.

For the government, please try to understand the condition of the people of Indonesia. Perhaps you think your salary is not enough, but look again to the people, that you should give a decent life! There are many people whose lives are much worse than you, who are paid to death (even up to 3 generations!) and insured, even without looking at the quality of work (you can be relaxed all day, right? Come on, admit it!). There are still many who have a house of cardboard or even do not have a home while you have got a house from the country, bathing in a ditch while you shower with clean and clear water in the shower, eating with only salt as side dish while you are eating with the food that filled up the entire table, dressed in ragged -camp while you are dressed up in batik uniforms, earn a fortune in the mountain of trash while you relax in your office, opening facebook in your office computer while yawning (moreover in air-conditioned room), walking for miles  to go to school while you have car service (and the car is replaced with the new ones every year) complete with the driver, and the list continues. You take their right to live in prosperity with corruption and not making pro-people policies. You yourself might be prosperous or even wealthy, equivalent to the entrepreneurs who have dozens of companies without the need to work hard. But if you take public money, remember, in the afterlife everything will be accounted for. After all if all people are prosperous, would not your salary will go up as well? Please remember that every rupiah that you receive from corruption will get you an inch closer to the gates of hell!

I hope there are businessmen and government that reading this. I know it is difficult to change someone who is ‘bad’ by nature, but there is still small hope to knock their conscience left.

Hopefully Indonesia will be free from corruption quickly and all the people can live the decent life soon!

Translated from my previous post here

Also Read :

The Irony of Fresh Graduates in Indonesia


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