‘Dad taught me to admire rats’, Bakrie reveals

The man many people see as a contender for the presidency of the world’s fourth largest nation in 2014 says his father taught him to emulate rats when he was a little boy.

Billionaire Indonesian business tycoon and Golkar party chief Aburizal Bakrie recently passed on his father’s advice to provincial party leaders, saying  they should copy rats in their strategies against political opponents ahead of the 2014 elections.

The comments were greeted with disgust and disbelief, so Bakrie issued a statement saying he had been taken out of context. He didn’t mean his party loyalists should copy the bad things about rats, only the smart, “tactical” things.

I’m not sure I can paraphrase Bakrie, so here it is in his own words, from his blog (via Google translater and a bit of editing – so probably not perfect but you’ll get the gist):

I’ll explain what I mean by ‘playing tactically.’ To make it easier to understand, I use the analogy of a mouse. Because the animal’s survival depends in my opinion on its tactical nature. Its the analogy that my dad taught while he was still alive, to explain the importance of the tactical attitude in doing business… He said that if he slept in a bale bale (outdoor platform), by the morning his socks were already perforated, and his thumb had been bitten by rats but he hadn’t felt anything. Why is that so? Because the mouse sniffs before he bites, then bites only a little. Sniffs again, bites a little more and so on. If he just bit into it, he’d be dead immediately. I think the Golkar party should be like this too.

He adds that although rats are universally known as symbols of corruption, that’s not the image he intended to pass on to his party.

I wasn’t talking about the greedy nature of the rat, but its tactical nature… When attacking each other in local elections or politics, we should do it politely so the attack is not painful and doesn’t cause dissension.

He continues to explain that he likes to illustrate his “philosophies” with analogies from nature. One in particular is very illuminating, coming from a man who denies any conflict of interest between his vast business empire and his positions in government.  He says criticism is like “the wind that hits a tree: the higher the tree, the faster the wind”. Bakrie, of course, is the tall tree.

That explains how he so calmly dismisses allegations of tax avoidance involving hundreds of millions of dollars by companies within his family conglomerate, Bakrie and Brothers. And how he refuses to admit that a Bakrie-linked gas drilling company probably triggered a mud volcano in East Java that has destroyed 12 villages and counting, killed 13 people and displaced around 50,000. Independent scientists blame the company but Bakrie and the government say an earthquake was responsible.

Somehow on his blog Bakrie has found a way to post a picture of Nelson Mandela alongside his own smiling face in the header. I’ll run that through google translater another day!


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