Here is the truth. Some Indonesian journalists consider economy as a difficult desk. Some say it is a nightmare field of coverage. Taking an advantage between two stereotypes, I am happy to be the one of so many reporters who find a soul in that subject. Back then, I am a stupid journalist who gets trapped in common skepticism. Once I ask for questions to my senior why we should bother ourselves paying attention on stock market, international economy? Do they have any impacts toward small and medium enterprises? Why make a fuss on such things?
Four months being at the business desk at The Jakarta Post is a disaster for me. I completely feel like an idiot. I find it so hard to write even 300-400 words in English (this I find it easy when I cover news on politic, metro, sport). Another hurdle is numbers. Damn! How I hate them!
The most priceless experience happen when I receive complaints three times from my sourcepeople. Yes, I made mistakes three times in different cases that make me want to end my career as a journalist. Experiences are best teachers. Now I put truth and clarity above everything.
I move several desks after economy. I return to cover news on legal affairs, which used to be my favorite, then metro news that always turns my adventurous side on. But throughout times, I get sick with national news. I used to be curious with it. I mean, it feels so cool to interview politicians, human right activists, corruption experts. I think I have shares to save this country through my coverage on corruption cases. YEAH! Rite!!!
Things change when I cover murder case involves Antasari Azhar, former head of the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK). Everything gets to be very messy at that time. All journalists are busy with their own speculations what is beyond this murder drama. All and all goes back to the RI one (you know who). We believe the killing case is already set up by the mighty person in rulling to distract issue on general election matter on voting. This and that case.. always goes back to the number one person. I am sick of this thing!
Corruption and politic are very boring topics. I am lucky to handle economy when I move to the Globe. Despite the not-so-good experiences when I am at the business desk at the Post, I feel so thrilled to be in the economy world. Dont know when it is all began but I am slowly but surely falling so deep into it.
What used to be very heavy to read, now I begin to digest them in spite of their alien terms. I think it is because I start to learn how economy is so close to my life. For instance, each time I shop I cant count how many imported products are in my shopping basket. My favorite apples are from Fuji. Body and cosmetic items are from Japan and European countries. And I shop at Carrefour, retail giant from French.
I always drop by at favorite spot that is the vegetables and food. I do this only to mesmerize myself on how much imported products are on the shelf. Cheese, milk, yoghurt.. OMG! Where are local products ???
Here is the big picture. The more imported products enter domestic market the close modern invasion is. Frightening, huh? Thats my opinion only. I think economy is the fastest way with which one country can occupy another one. If a country already heavily depends on another nation, well just be ready to be a slave. The greatest mistake is that we always look upon other greatness and pity ourselves despite the fact we actually can be as good as them. Or even better.
But needles are too messy to get loosened. We, I specifically, in dire need of imported products. Our domestic items actually can stand on their own but unfortunately find it hard to compete with foreign made ones. Worse, the government is crazy about investment. The government is proud that more and more investors want to build this and that in our beloved country. I can only pray local businessmen have say on any kind of projects left for grabs. As decisionmakers not as laborers.
Drawing a red line
The most challenging task to have a crush on economy (this goes as well for other desks) is the ability to make it as simple as possible. Here is one example:
Twenty years ago, I can buy candies and cakes with only Rp 100. But now, I can only purchase a candy, just one small candy. Throughout times, the value of money degrades. Thats called inflation. Why does it happen? Many factors.
Latest trend occurs when inflation touches as high as 0,89 percent in January. Blame (almost all of it) to weather. Poor heavy rain causes harvest failure. Demand is high but supply is limited. Thus, as we can predict, the price is high. A kilogram of chily can cost up to Rp 70,000, which may be priced lower than that if harvest is good.
The hottest topic with which we can understand about domino effect is through fuel prices. The ongoing unrest in oil producing Middle East causes the fuel price to soar. Thus, Pertamina rises the price of non subsidized Pertamax. Undeniably, the prices of goods can be more expensive thanks to the adjusted transportation cost.
And now about stock market. I always wonder why should I make a fuss about it. Now I get it. Stock market is the most sensitive, fast movement transaction area. It reflects country’s economic confidence, a gateway by which investors can pour in their money. If country’s stock market is collapsed, investors will be reluctant to involve in the nation’s project and this will hinder economy development. Buildings may not be completed, railway projects can be neglected.
I guess I already answer my own question to my senior. From now on, I always keep my eyes on stock market and currency as well because they are in the so-called satanic circle.
My purpose to be in the economy desk is to spur positivism, at least for myself. I dream Indonesia is like Belgium. Business goes well despite political intrique. I guess that does happen here. Stock market keeps on showing its amazing performance despite a string of bomb threats lately, Gayus tax fraud, and definitely cabinet reshuffle. The wheel of economy keeps on moving forward everyone. And hopefully will always be that way….
Anyway… *yawn, yawn,yawn*. Nite already…