As President Joko ‘Jokowi’ Widodo declares that the first day of June as the birthday of ‘Pancasila’, people can start wondering whether it makes a difference. How important is Pancasila for Indonesia and whether there is a tangible impact to people?
According to the country’s history and constitution, Pancasila shall form as the main philosophical foundation, forming the basic identity for Indonesia and its people. By right, all Indonesians remember the five principles in Pancasila. For decades, they have been taught at schools.
But implementing the values that are deeply conveyed in Pancasila is a different matter. At the government level, its proper adoption shall lead towards the implementation of policies that yield results which are parallel to the principles. At the people level, understanding the concept shall promote tolerance and other values that would lead to a harmonious living, despite our differences.
So theoretically by now, Indonesia could have been a great country to live in, an ideal beacon to the world where people have a good standard of living, without inequality. But apparently, we have not reached that stage yet, far from it.
Pancasila in our live
Pancasila, with its five principles, has not yet been truly implemented in our daily live. As of now, a corrupt system that hinders the people’s access to justice, peace, freedom of speech, and even human rights protection is still to be seen.
We still see alleged corruptors acting like celebrities. There are unsolved human rights violation cases, unfair treatment of overseas Indonesian workers continues, and uncompetitive education institutions struggling to break international barrier.
Furthermore, in West Java, churches are allegedly extorted in exchange for ‘peace-keeping’ solution. Even the country’s capital frequently sees potential deadlock as Governor Basuki ‘Ahok’ Tjahaja Purnama continuously faces backlash over the implementation of tough policies that would eventually lead to a better living, parallel to the principles in Pancasila.
These are just few examples of some of the observed mischiefs that run totally the opposite from the basic principles taught in Pancasila.
Let’s go back to the school days, where we had to say aloud all the five principles of Pancasila during weekly flag ceremonies, up to the days where everything can be memorized by heart. Did we actually understand what we were told to remember? Has it made any difference to our live?
Pancasila will probably stay so long Indonesia progresses because everyone has it in their memory. But whether it continues to exist primarily just as the country’s symbol will depend on its successful implementation by the people.
The President’s decision to have the first day of June as Pancasila day is a good step. But we have to do more than just remembering it as Indonesia’s ideology. We should not just merely memorize Pancasila due to peer pressure. Next, people must be incentivized for understanding the principles, in addition to implementing it at school, work, home and any other places. It is now time for Indonesia to innovate new incentives that would drive people to truly implement the principles in Pancasila.