Bicara Topik

On Creating Another Jokowi


In 4 years, Jokowi had gained huge popularity that has been longed by other politicians for decades. Mustering over 90% of the vote in the 2010 Solo mayoral election was more than enough for Jokowi to come to prominence and acknowledged as a national figure. The national media were intrigued by his success and covered his administration continuously. 4 years later, Jokowi was named as the seventh president of Indonesia after winning 53% of the votes.

Disclaimer: Reach Your Dream To Become President Institute is a fictional institution.

Reach Your Dream To Become President Institute assumed that after the success of Jokowi common people will be highly motivated to become president much more than ever before. The assumption was based on the case of Andrea Hirata’s Laskar Pelangi in which his books had successfully influenced every Indonesian youth to study abroad —no matter what country they study in. We believe that the same kind of excitement had also surged among Indonesian society.

In accommodating these motivated and dreaming people, we had conducted an in-depth study on how to become president based on Jokowi’s brief success. The aim is that every Indonesian citizen, who is from common people, doesn’t have a noble posture, and is lacking amount of money or specific expertise, but has a big-hearted dream for Indonesia, could have a bigger opportunity to become president.

The study is concentrated specifically on certain policy and action that Jokowi carried out during his administration in Jakarta and Solo. We also had been observing a situation and condition surrounding his period of spotlight which also contributed to his popularity. No detail was missed, including his attitude, hobby and family.

Since the article-as-numbered-list or listicle is ubiquitous and the fact that netizen are relentlessly clicking this kind of article, the institute decided to write our conclusion of study in this kind of format. We avoid a long, complicated article because we know how far our readers’ brain can be stretched and they usually will skip the article without numbered list. We hope that the article could guide readers thoroughly on what factor had brought Jokowi’s fame and how these factors can be implemented by readers.

Here are 9 factors that had ascended Jokowi to the throne:

1. Javanese Is A Must

We mentioned earlier that every Indonesian citizen should have a bigger shot at becoming president. That isn’t completely true. We should thank to the 32-year regime of Javanese president, the expansion of Javanese across the archipelago and poor education that Javanese people still cast the largest vote in Indonesia. America even had to go through 200 years of democracy to own its first African-American president.

2. Be A Controversial Leader

Jokowi was one of a few elected leaders who successfully garnered over 90% of the vote. Although he wasn’t the first one, this phenomenon had drawn the media to take a closer look to his second administration with curiosity. The result wasn’t disappointing. Jokowi fared well in certain aspects in which other regional leaders failed miserably. Since all of national media reside in Jakarta and had lived in status quo with the absence of leader, Jokowi was like a hidden gem in this problematic country.

Take street vendor for example. In Jakarta, a clash between Public Order Agency or Satpol PP and illegal street vendors was just a normal daily grind. But Jokowi took an unconventional method by holding a dialogue for numerous times with illegal street vendor in Solo. He miraculously managed to relocate almost a thousand of street vendors without a single swing of Satpol PP’s truncheon. This approach was second to none.

Jokowi didn’t play safe. He even upped the game when he stood up against his own boss, governor of Central Java, Bibit Waluyo. The dispute was ranging from ice company to Esemka car—a Solo’s student-made car which was promoted by jokowi, then somehow raised him as a nationalist figure. We did not delve deeper into the conflict, and apparently, neither did the people. They saw the conflict more like a modern story of David vs. Goliath instead. Jokowi wasn’t winning the dispute; he was winning people’s heart.

3. A numerous Achievement

What could be better than an array of trophy from reputable institution? Republika, Tempo and Bung Hatta Anti-Corruption Award honored Jokowi as one of the best regional leader long before his candidacy for governor in Jakarta. It didn’t stop there. Jokowi gained an international recognition when he was listed in 5 best mayors in the world. Some may call it a high-level conspiracy, but that might be the hardest conspiracy which a furniture businessman could ever arrange.

At this point, some readers may have abandoned their dream and continue their mediocre life. Well, we never say becoming president is an easy task.

4. When You Have Leverage, Do Not Bow Down

As the battle of high-profile position in Jakarta was closing in, Jokowi was the most targeted person to run for governor by the media. And what did he respond? “Enggak mikir”. Couple of months later, he and Basuki Tjahja, wearing checkered shirt, were seen convincing people to vote for them in 2012 Jakarta gubernatorial election.

Such attitude would be considered hypocrisy if it was acted by other candidates, like Fauzi Bowo. Jokowi’s playing-hard-to-get card also implemented furthermore in their campaign method by deciding not to print and spread out his face in contrast to their biggest opponent, fauzi Bowo, whose face was all over the place. The decision was still applied during his administration in Jakarta: no face of him was displayed in a promotional manner

In 2014, he remarked the famous line again and we already knew what happened afterward.

5. Lame predecessor

The timing could not be more perfect. Jokowi shone when Indonesia was missing a competent, leading figure. He snatched 2 of the most prestigious position in a blink of an eye not entirely because of his previous achievement, but more like his predecessor, Fauzi Bowo, did not achieve anything at all.

Jokowi had his heyday in popularity when he served as governor in Jakarta. We know that Fauzi Bowo had done something during his 5-year tenure. We just don’t know if all of Jakartan was satisfied by his works. 2,472,130 Jakartans surely were not satisfied.

After being sworn in as governor, Jokowi and his partner, Ahok, were quickly under scrutiny by the media for every measure they took. The spotlight was not highlighting the success or the failure of their programs, but rather to show people that our newly-elected governor was actually working and solving some of jakarta’s problems —most of them looked untouched by his predecessor— for almost every day. A story which was absent during Fauzi’s administration.

If readers could mention one of Fauzi Bowo contribution or achievement in handling Jakarta’s problem, we will shut down the institution. Because as John Lennon said, “Before Jokowi, there was nothing.”

Ok, there was Ali Sadikin.

6. Pluralism

No politician or bureaucrat would ever proclaim themselves proudly as a bigot or racist in media. They are consistently prattling on about pluralism, tolerance and unity in diversity while Shiites are still not allowed to come home or church attacker is walking free. Pluralism is nothing but a joke for them.

How about Jokowi? In our record, no journalist was stupid enough to ask such question, because Jokowi would easily answer, “Pluralism? I’ve been working with 2 partners whose religions are different from me. How’s that for pluralism!”

“Not to mention my wife’s name is Iriana. If you know what I mean,” Jokowi said in big smile.

7. Exist!
A Latin phrase sums up this point perfectly, “Jokowi blusukan therefore he is”

8. Do not Join Political Party, If You Do, Pick The Opposition One
Jokowi was the right man at the right time. When people saw a political party as mafia-in-disguise who never contributed anything to welfare of people, Jokowi showed up. Though he didn’t necessarily debunk the perception of political party.

What people loved from Jokowi was that he wasn’t part of political elite. Suffice to say, he wasn’t a man of the party, or at least, not looked like one. It strengthened his portrayal of a man of the people whom constitution obliges to be supported by political party which fortunately was from the opposition one, PDIP. No family or relatives of him also affiliated to the party. This portrayal allowed Jokowi to reach voters who were skeptical to political party.

It will be a different story if he came from Demokrat or Golkar. No, there would even be no story at all.

9. Never Underestimate a Bunch of People With Their Smartphone

We will present some facts in number to readers. Number never lies. According to Ministry of Communication and Information Technology, Indonesia is housing 82 million internet users and it is now world’s eighth largest internet user. 80% of the users are teenager with age 15 – 19 years old. The most popular social media in Indonesia is Facebook with 60.5 million users followed by Twitter with 20 million users. Both of the social media are easily accessed through smartphone. With constant development in technology information and a growing market, the number tends to increase.

A data that was presented is hard evident for any future president to start paying attention to a bunch of people with their smartphone. These folks could be opinion leader for their followers just by tweeting from their lavatory. The number of follower is staggering; it could be thousands to millions.

In spite of the fact that the cyber world is a potential market, it has its downside. In abundant unrestrained informations, person will no longer be hailed as a prophet, which means, any popular figure will be stripped down and eaten alive by the vulture.

In a runoff for governor, Jokowi and Faisal Basri were the pioneer in the history of Indonesia’s election to fully utilize social media in their campaign and Jokowi survived from the vulture. Twice.

We said before that the institute had conducted an in-depth study on Jokowi’s popularity from his second-time elected in solo to winning presidential election. As a matter of fact, we didn’t feel like studying a case, in the contrary, we feel like watching a film.

His story is the easiest one to be pitched to any film producer.

A new face, underdog, and from a poor upbringing? A mayor from small city. Check

A conflict? Plenty. Check

A sidekick with an opposite personality? Ahok. Check

A romance story? One wife. Check (there has to be a first lady. No second or third lady. Soekarno was an exception)

A high-octane action? Blusukan and Jakarta floods. Check

A public enemy? Radical group, thugs and thugs in radical group. Check

A character-driven plot? Waiting the announcement of Jokowi’s candidacy. Check

A dramatic scene? Declaration of Jokowi’s candidacy. Check

An ending? Indonesia’s seventh president. Check

Everyone loves a story, especially if it’s told by reputable media, not KK Dheraj. We hardly found any political figure that was being covered so intense and consistent as much as Jokowi by the media for the past 2 years. Every part of his life is a scoop that is willing to be juiced up by the media.

Dahlan Iskan once tried to pitch his story to public. He was a new face, not a member of any political party, caught ‘blusukan’ on the train, in dispute with lawmakers and promoted national electric car. Sounds familiar? His premise was similar to Jokowi’s and that was why he came to grief. His dramatic electric car stunt just added insult to injury.


On the other hand, Jokowi’s story was a solid and original one. The media had shaped, overexposed and tested his story, but none could alter its authenticity. Zionism and communism certainly were not strong enough to shrug off Jokowi’s public persona. It just affirmed his status as a media darling. Jokowi’s story was a flash in the pan.

Do readers want to be a media darling? Readers have read our guide and may feel enthusiastic and optimistic. A thought like “if Jokowi could pull it off, why we couldn’t?” Would have crossed a readers’ mind. We warn readers that being media darling will not boost the chance to become president. We are underlining 2 key words: story and antithesis. Jokowi and Prabowo were on top of every poll because both of them were antithesis to SBY’s leadership. But unfortunately for Prabowo, he lacked of good compelling story. He knew it and chose to sell his personality which is nothing new in Indonesia.

Reach Your Dream To Become President Institute firmly suggests readers to curb the enthusiasm and hold on to these 2 key words. In the next 5 years, things will be gone differently. There are situations and competitors to be considered. A competitor that should be watched closely is Jokowi. He will have a huge advantage as an incumbent.

The situation will also have an effect. The Constitutional Court has ruled that the presidential threshold which was a requirement to nominate a president will be removed starting 2019. We see this as a bad news for common people since the competition will be fiercer than 2014 election. No Jokowi’s phenomenon will be repeated. But rest assured that antithesis and story could be implemented in any situation.

We propose to our readers to pick a story, an antithetical one. Be authentic and the rest will follow.


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