On Wednesday (10/05), visitors and worshipers released thousands of paper lanterns into the night sky. (JG Photo/Boy T. Harjanto)

The Next Generation Shares Their New Year Concerns


JANUARY 05, 2015

Jakarta. As the new year kicks off, optimism and expectation thrives among Indonesians — especially the young.

Several young Indonesians shared their views on economic issues, saying that Indonesia would likely be more improved financially, while others believed that the people of Indonesia would become more tolerant and respectful of each other.

Economics postgraduate candidate Ryan Caesar Purba, 27, said that he viewed 2015 as a special time, filled with golden opportunities for Indonesians to compete with people from other countries in the region while welcoming the economic integration under the Asean Economic Community, or AEC.

"The free trade flow of the so-called AEC shall be the bottom line of our economic development during the year of 2015," Ryan told the Jakarta Globe.

"With economic integration, Indonesia will have more opportunities with various incomes. If we can catch up with other countries, the system can contribute much to improving the prosperity level of Indonesians. Therefore we should compete progressively.

"On the other hand, the AEC could also be a threat for us if we fight weakly," Ryan added.

"With AFTA [Asean Free Trade Agreement], this year should be a great chance for Indonesia. Local businesses and small and medium enterprises can expand their business," Ryan said.

Sweta Kartika, 29, the creator of the Nusantaranger comics, said the AEC would also be an entry for entrepreneurs in the creative industries to introduce their products to the international community.

"This year is full of potential for Indonesia's younger generations to improve the quality and quantity of their work. The AEC will motivate us to be better — especially in joining the international competition of the creative industries," Sweta said.

"Moreover, social media would still play an important role in supporting the creative entrepreneur. We proved it last year where once the creative product — be it movies, books or comic — were exposed by the media, the creative spirit would go viral among young creators. And we have to maintain this.

"The more young creators get involved in Indonesia's creative industry, the more it will enliven local products in our country. Our anime, games and animation series are ready to compete with those made by other countries," he said.

Sweta said that national and international events would push quality improvement and product marketing, including events such as Popcon, Hellofest and Baros Animation Fest.

"And more importantly, the government must support its youth in developing their creativity by providing them protection through intellectual property rights. The strict implementation of the law must be taken seriously," Sweta said.

Gemilang Yudha Pratama, 22, an entrepreneur, said the infrastructure development planned by President Joko Widodo's administration would likely be the main factor for positive change in the economic sphere, from the grassroots level up to big businesses.

"With the new administration, I think that we will have more economic activities this year," he said.

"This will affect many people across Indonesia, especially if the infrastructure development is implemented by the government. This year will surely be better than 2014.

"Challenges will remain, but that's just business, you know. Our country might not be in its best in this new year compared with other developed countries in the region, but I am optimistic that we will be able to catch up," Gemilang said.

He added that 2015 would also be better for religious tolerance.

"Socially, Indonesians will be more improved regarding their mind-set. From year to year, many Indonesians have become more critical and vocal in criticizing government regulations. I hope that Indonesia can also apply this to tolerance," Gemilang said.

Another young entrepreneur, Laskar Pratama, 25, echoed the sentiment, saying that 2015 would be the beginning of Joko's development programs.

"With the new year, we also leave behind the political sentiment of the presidential election, which caused Indonesia economic instability. This year, there will be no more expectations about Joko. What remains is the wait for the president's agenda implementation," Laskar said.

"Subsequently, our economic outlook will be more stable."

The beginning of the year also brings with it concerns over the price of fuel, after the government lowered prices as of Jan. 1 following a sharp hike in mid-November.

According to Nikita Devi Purnama, a 26-year-old content writer, fuel prices will still be a problem in 2015.

"While there are many things to consider this new year, I guess this year will be tough for some people in certain areas regarding the fuel price, because it's a big factor in many other sectors. I'm not an economic expert, but I think the economic burden will be higher this year," she said.

"The government has stated that it will follow the world oil price. This might confuse people, but the situation will also benefit some people who can follow the pace, including me.

"In addition, this year will be more efficient [in terms of governance] with all the transparent information and clear systems. I can see this year will be simpler and on-point," Nikita said, declining to elaborate.