The Macbethian Tragedy of the Indonesian Democracy

Mr Emirza Adi Syailendra, Associate Research Fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Singapore

Tuesday, 19 July 2022 5:00pm

Wellington

Via zoom

A presentation by Mr Emirza Adi Syailendra, Associate Research Fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Singapore

The Asia Forum in collaboration with the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs - Wellington Branch invite you to attend a virtual presentation by Mr Emirza Adi Syailendra, Associate Research Fellow at the Indonesia Programme of the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore.

Please note, the Zoom meeting ID will be sent to registered attendees prior to the event.

Mr Emirza Adi Syailendra

Emirza Adi Syailendra is an Associate Research Fellow at the Indonesia Programme of the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore. His research covers civil-military relations and democracy in Indonesia, maritime Southeast Asian countries’ relations with China, and Asian Security.

Emir is currently completing his PhD at the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre, Coral Bell School of Asia Pacific Affairs, Australian National University. His public affairs commentaries have appeared in many international outlets including Foreign Affairs, China People’s Daily, the Diplomat, Inside Indonesia, and the RSIS Commentary series. Refereed publications include articles in Asian Security, Asia Policy, World Development, and Indonesia Journal.

Abstract

The Macbethian Tragedy of the Indonesian Democracy

Who is responsible for the death of the Indonesian democracy? This talk will explore this provocative question with the objective not of finding the answer but of using it as a compass pointing to the circularity of patterns in the Indonesian democracy: a system that fosters bad actors, and the actors that perpetuate an environment that is hostile to accountability. The question of determinism and freewill is also core to Shakespeare's Tragedy of Macbeth. Macbeth interrogates the dilemma of agency through evaluating the culpability of despotic behaviour––exposing the tension between individual volition, groupthink, and systemic pressures. Employing this Shakespearean analogy to Indonesian politics is also apt as the notion of Kingship is deeply intertwined with the exercise of control in Indonesian politics.

Using this framework, this talk attempts to grapple with three themes:

Surveying President Joko Widodo's (Jokowi) consolidation of power and his flirtation with undemocratic forces to gain control.

Drawing a parallel between actors in Macbeth and politicians in Indonesia, so we can evaluate their complicity in causing the slow demise of Indonesia's democracy.

Understanding the root of the resilience of the Pemuda (youth movement) that continues to balance Indonesian elites’ despotic tendencies.

While the theme of tragedy indicates a circumstance that is not easily rectified, the resilience of indigenous democratic forces in Indonesia is something to be cherished, understood, and supported.

Contact the Wellington branch

KARIM DICKIE, CHAIR

karim@dickie.org.nz

A presentation by Mr Emirza Adi Syailendra, Associate Research Fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Singapore

The Asia Forum in collaboration with the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs - Wellington Branch invite you to attend a virtual presentation by Mr Emirza Adi Syailendra, Associate Research Fellow at the Indonesia Programme of the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore.

Please note, the Zoom meeting ID will be sent to registered attendees prior to the event.

Mr Emirza Adi Syailendra

Emirza Adi Syailendra is an Associate Research Fellow at the Indonesia Programme of the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore. His research covers civil-military relations and democracy in Indonesia, maritime Southeast Asian countries’ relations with China, and Asian Security.

Emir is currently completing his PhD at the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre, Coral Bell School of Asia Pacific Affairs, Australian National University. His public affairs commentaries have appeared in many international outlets including Foreign Affairs, China People’s Daily, the Diplomat, Inside Indonesia, and the RSIS Commentary series. Refereed publications include articles in Asian Security, Asia Policy, World Development, and Indonesia Journal.

Abstract

The Macbethian Tragedy of the Indonesian Democracy

Who is responsible for the death of the Indonesian democracy? This talk will explore this provocative question with the objective not of finding the answer but of using it as a compass pointing to the circularity of patterns in the Indonesian democracy: a system that fosters bad actors, and the actors that perpetuate an environment that is hostile to accountability. The question of determinism and freewill is also core to Shakespeare's Tragedy of Macbeth. Macbeth interrogates the dilemma of agency through evaluating the culpability of despotic behaviour––exposing the tension between individual volition, groupthink, and systemic pressures. Employing this Shakespearean analogy to Indonesian politics is also apt as the notion of Kingship is deeply intertwined with the exercise of control in Indonesian politics.

Using this framework, this talk attempts to grapple with three themes:

Surveying President Joko Widodo's (Jokowi) consolidation of power and his flirtation with undemocratic forces to gain control.

Drawing a parallel between actors in Macbeth and politicians in Indonesia, so we can evaluate their complicity in causing the slow demise of Indonesia's democracy.

Understanding the root of the resilience of the Pemuda (youth movement) that continues to balance Indonesian elites’ despotic tendencies.

While the theme of tragedy indicates a circumstance that is not easily rectified, the resilience of indigenous democratic forces in Indonesia is something to be cherished, understood, and supported.

Membership

NZIIA membership is open to anyone interested in understanding the importance of global affairs to the political and economic well-being of New Zealand.