Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Indonesian General’s Watch Raises Questions

Indonesian state officials like to show off their wealth and lavish lifestyles by sporting luxury brands with price tags in the thousands of dollars in public. From driving flashy sport cars, wearing branded shoes, carrying expensive bags to high-end watches with unfathomable prices, they seem to forget that their normal salary would not be enough to buy those goods.

Such a lifestyle should alert us that such officials are probably dipping into public funds or on the take, and we have every reason to demand that the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK)
investigate the officials in questions.

Realizing this strong public antigraft sentiment, Indonesian Military Chief Gen. Moeldoko claimed on Wednesday that his watch, identified by media in Singapore as a $100,000 model, was a fake. In an attempt to prove he did not spend such sums of money on a watch and quash any suspicion that he was spending far more than his income as a state official would allow Moeldoko performed a bizarre stunt when he threw his watch to the ground to prove it was a fake.

While it is hard to believe that a man of his stature would wear counterfeit products, his public confession shows us how little respect the country has for intellectual property rights. Top leaders like Moeldoko should be an example for the public against buying fake goods, not encouraging the practice, as it not only breaks the law but also embarrasses the nation.

Whatever motives the media may have had for highlighting the top military officer’s accessories, we should be careful not to blame the messenger and overlook the message. Too many of our officials like to show off their wealth, while too many of the people they are supposed to be serving continue to live in poverty. By Jakarta Globe  

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