Below is an interview with Suparno Adijato who is the Chair of our Jakarta Board and Tommy Lee, our President.
CAN YOU PLEASE TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOURSELF?
I am an Indonesian, who has been living in Jakarta for thirty years. We have a family plantation and mining business. My wife and I are educators for preschoolers to adults. But my passion is in ministry, building up and discipling young adults so they can contribute to their cities.
WHAT GIVES YOU HOPE FOR THE CITY OF JAKARTA?
The number one word that comes to mind when I think of Jakarta is vibrant. Jakarta is full of life, even traffic jams represent the city’s vibrance. Jakarta, with a population of 30 million people, is the second biggest megalopolitan in the world, just short of Tokyo. Another word for Jakarta is improving. Indonesia used to be at the bottom of Transparency International. In 1998, we had one of the worst economic crisis, along with a change of government. But amidst the skepticism by many people, things are improving in the country. Many people thought Indonesia would go down the drain, but people have been praying for the country. There is a national prayer network that has millions of people covering Indonesia with prayers.
YOU MENTIONED THERE ARE FIVE GIANTS (PROBLEMS) IN THE CITY OF JAKARTA, WHAT IS THE FIRST PROBLEM?
Corruption is a big problem. It breeds inefficiency. By being inefficient, you get more money. Corruption also breeds uncertainties and risks. Foreign investors will not invest if the risk is too high due to corruption. With corruption, people can be bought. There is no security when you don’t know who you can trust. People don’t need to have integrity where there is corruption. So I believe that if our society can overcome corruption, then we would be on the right path.
WHAT IS THE SECOND GIANT?
The second giant is inequality. Not only are there minorities in terms of race and religion, Indonesia has one of the greatest unequal distributions of wealth amongst its people. There are three classes of people:
the few, who have a lot of wealth,
the small amount, which is considered is middle class,
and then the class majority of Indonesians fall into, those who are near poverty.
WHAT IS THE THIRD GIANT?
The third giant is vulnerability. A society works well if the law works to protect the people. The law is not perfect, but so is the implementation of the law in Indonesia. There are inefficiencies in the way the law is drafted. Due to that fact, a lot of times people feel that the law is against them. As a result, the people are wary and do not know who they can trust. There should be some form of social justice.
WHAT IS THE FOURTH GIANT?
The fourth giant is poverty. Unemployment is a huge issue. The government has made improvements, but there is still a lot of unemployed people. For example, people who work on a farm work for about six months and only about five hours a day. So if they get sick, there is no money. People here run into a lot of problems because of debt.
WHAT IS THE FIFTH FINAL GIANT?
The final giant is hopelessness. There is an overarching sense of hopelessness and oppression. But Jesus has come to help those that are oppressed; God has given us hope through Jesus and hope for the future. There is hope. I believe our society can and will continue to improve going forward.
ANY LAST THOUGHTS?
The Bible talks about David being the giant slayer. In our lives, we have Davids, but also men and women who can be Davids and support Davids. God can use everybody. Although we may not be a David, we can still help to bring back the kingdom. All of us can do something to slay giants.