Jakarta. A wide range of personal items belonging to dozens of top Indonesian government officials including Vice President Jusuf Kalla were put up for auction at the National Gallery in Jakarta on Wednesday (28/02).
More than 50 items – with initial bid prices from Rp 1,000 (7 cents) to Rp 15 million – were auctioned at the Finance Ministry's event to raise money for charity.
A total of 19 state officials took part in the auction, including Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati, Transportation Minister Budi Karya Sumadi, Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi, State-Owned Enterprises Minister Rini Soemarno, Spatial Planning Minister Sofyan Djalil, Industry Minister Airlangga Hartarto and Health Minister Nila Moeloek.
Among the auctioned items were fine batik fabrics, traditional handwoven textiles, a vintage cookie jar, neckties, hats, a bag, prayer mats, jackets, shoes, paintings, a guitar, ping pong badges, a set of golf clubs and bicycles.
The item with the highest initial bid price of Rp 15 million was a Balinese painting of lotus flowers with wooden frames that belonged to Bank Rakyat Indonesia president director Suprajarto.
A pair of black Felix Verguso synthetic rubber shoes belonging to Heru Pambudi, the director general of customs and excise at the Finance Ministry, was the cheapest item on offer at Rp 1,000.
The item that raised the most money, Rp 20 million, was an acoustic guitar that belonged to Transportation Minister Budi, who was prepared to let it go for Rp 500,000.
"That's one of my most treasured possessions. I bought it ten years ago for about Rp 5 million," Budi said at the National Gallery. "But I'm prepared to give away my most prized possession for a good cause."
Budi's name was on the front pages of the local press late last year when he played the guitar in a joke band called "Elek Yo Band" (We're Bad, Who Cares?) with several other ministers, including Retno and Sri Mulyani, at the wedding of State Secretary Pratikno's daughter.
"Now that his guitar has been auctioned, the band has to break up," Sri Mulyani joked at the auction. "Or maybe he's already bought himself a new one."
The Finance Minister herself auctioned a hand-made, long-sleeve batik shirt with flower motifs that she had frequently donned on duties. The item was offered for Rp 5 million and sold for Rp 10 million.
"Indonesians appreciate the history of these items," Sri Mulyani said. "Auction can be an alternative form of transaction, a new culture in Indonesia."
Including Wednesday's event, which also featured e-auction and closed bidding, state officials in Indonesia have been doing fundraising auctions for 110 years.