Yesterday I did a presentation at the Indonesian Survey Institute (LSI) for researchers, activists, and the press. (Here is the announcement.) This was a first for me in three ways: (1) a research presentation conducted entirely in Indonesian, (2) a research presentation conducted in front of the press, and (3) a research presentation conducted in front of people who had a large stake in the research itself.

I wanted to find a picture of myself taken by the press, but I can't seem to find one. Photogenic I am not. So what I tried to do was to take a picture of the press from my perspective, looking out onto them. Unfortunately I could only do it really quickly after it was announced that we'd break for lunch, so you can imagine the consequences.

Lunch Buffet! Everybody Up!


I can, though, find some media coverage of what was discussed. The English one I actually discovered while reading the print version of this newspaper over breakfast. The Indonesian one features the worst butchering of my last of all time.

Actually, I think that although my presentation went well, my coauthor Saiful Mujani stole the show. The results of his latest public opinion surveys show some truly important things about the role of ethnicity, religion, and other "primordial" identities in the recent and upcoming elections. We hear a lot of chatter among the commentariat here that Indonesian voters want a diverse presidential ticket, one that has a nationalist candidate and an "Islamic" candidate, or one with a Javanese and a non-Javanese. Turns out, there's just no evidence that this is true. The upcoming presidential elections look like they'll feature a ticket of two ethnic Javanese from nationalist/neoliberal backgrounds running against a ticket headlined by an ethnic Bugis businessman with Muslim credentials (Jusuf Kalla) and a nationalist ethnic Javanese (Wiranto) and perhaps one more ticket to be named later. The double-Javanese nationalist ticket is the most popular by far. And critically, it is supported at the same rate by Muslims and Christians, ethnic Javanese and non-Javanese, Java-Bali and outer island voters. My guess is that the same people trying to clamour for an Islamic candidate or a non-Javanese candidate are simply representing the parties who see this as the only way that they can get any political influence.

Saiful puts it like this, borrowing from Nietzsche: Politik aliran sudah mati. Rakyat sendiri yang membunuhnya. Or translated loosely, "Identity politics is dead. The people themselves have killed it."