Monday, July 28, 2008

Sjahrir, the political path of a political economist

I am saddened to read an article on The Jakarta Post today is entitled,” Economist and 1974 student leader Syahrir dies.”

I know Pak Ciil (as he frequently called) more through his writings and his TV show and few of his seminars that I attended. Actually my mother know him much better, his wife is my mother’s classmate, and frequently mentioned about him even before I entered FEUI.

I never took his class at FEUI. He decided to stop teaching the Indonesian Economy course at 1998 after the crisis and he said he couldn’t continue teaching the same things after so many things change

As far as I know he never teach in undergrad FEUI again afterward. He published some books (I have almost all of them) and increased political activity that culminated in establishment of New Indonesia Party (PIB).

Even though he had the name recognition as a popular economist frequently quoted in newspaper and appear on TV but his political party suffer the fate of his namesake Sjahrir with PSI (Indonesia Socialist Party); filled with intellectuals but apparently not appealing the masses and gather little vote. His last formal position is advisor to president SBY, economist till the end.

He is best known on his part of student leader in 1974 where the New Order jailed him for three years. Released from jail, he managed to get scholarship until PhD in Harvard University with dissertation entitled Political Economy of Food. Quite a prescient topic that still very relevant today.

I met him just last month, where we both speakers for a seminar in UNAS. He is still the exuberant and energetic self, even though he mentioned that he is on short leashes from his doctors but it doesn’t show a bit. He started his speech by expressing, boomingly, his regret and apology for the police violence on UNAS and then go on to analyzed globalization’s impact to Indonesia.

His departure is a loss for today’s and future economist. He has shown that economist needs to uphold a value despite the risk and to be able to communicate it to the common people.

Good bye Pak Ciil.

1 comment:

fajar said...

salam kenal