As election observers we toured the city today from polling station to polling station. It was the third time in 10 years that I did this. As always it was a wonderful opportunity to get to know the locals. We were warmly welcomed at every place with open arms and smiles; we were invited to join and see what was happening. People were so proud of their democracy and rightly so. Indonesia is a beacon of democracy in Asia.
We also visited the neighbourhood were I had lived during my time in Indonesia. When the neighbourhood chief saw me, he ushered my “in” (the voting booth is in front of the mesjid) and I had to sit with him on the steps of the little mosque for a long chat. It was as if I had not been away. He invited me to join the polling station team for lunch which I had to decline because of other commitments.
Only much later did I have time for a coffee, my favourite: “kopi tubruk”, a thick sweet brew. In addition a kretek (clove) cigarette, and I felt as a “wong cilik” (normal or ordinary person) again. It is so good to be back. And the parliamentary elections will certainly be a success. Hidup demokrasi.