In a nation plagued by seeds of disintegration — as hard-line radicals spread intolerance and separatist clashes dominate news out of the archipelago’s east — there is only so much that policy prescriptions can do.
Perhaps realizing these limits, Indonesia’s uniter in chief has boldly cried for “Harmoni,” (“Harmony”) the title of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s fourth album, released on Monday.
“The president is sending his message across through songs, so the public won’t get bored,” said Energy Minister Jero Wacik after the album’s launch in Central Jakarta.
“Indonesians don’t respond well to speeches. People are getting tired of speeches.”
The president wrote all eight songs on the album and like his previous records, “Harmoni” features some of the nation’s well respected singers, such as pop legends Rafika Duri and Harvey Malaiholo, and up-and-coming stars Sandy Sandoro, Afghan, Rio Febrian and Joy Tobing.
“[Harmony] is the pinnacle of all aspirations, expectations, and dreams of every leader. In one way or another, a leader always aspires to create a harmonious social order for the people,” Yudhoyono wrote in the album’s foreword.
“The harmony I expressed in this album is not just that among humans, but also among nations and most importantly, the harmonious relationship between mankind and the universe.”
Jero said there is nothing wrong with the president’s penchant for lyricism. “The president writes songs in his spare time, so it’s OK for him to write once in a while. He is writing them for the people,” the minister said.
“You need to understand that by writing songs, he is doing his [presidential] work, although he doesn’t do this everyday.”
There is no telling whether Yudhoyono’s latest endeavor will enjoy the same moderate success as his third album, “Ku Yakin Sampai di Sana” (“I’m Certain I’ll Get There”). He released his first album, “Rinduku Padamu” (“I Miss You”) in 2007, followed by “Evolusi” (“Evolution”) in 2009 .