Quoting Endy Bayuni’s editorial in The Jakarta Post, The Week wrote,

There’s a lot of nostalgia these days for the Suharto era, said Endy Bayuni. As Indonesia begins to search for candidates for the next presidential election, in 2019, posters and memes of the dictatorwho ruled from 1967 to 1998-have gone viral. The most common features a photo of the late general smiling, with the Javanese caption “Better in my era, wasn’t it?” No, it wasn’t: There was political repression, corruption, gross inequality, a stagnant economy, and none of the public goods we now enjoy, such as free health care and free education for all. So what are people remembering so fondly? Our sloppy, slow democracy has made them miss “the certainty, the swift way decisions were made. They miss the effectiveness and efficiency that an authoritarian regime can deliver.” In our 20 years of free elections, we’ve seen decisionmaking become “an arduous and cumbersome process,” involving “noisy public debates and endless deliberation by legislators.” We’ve also seen a rise in anti-Chinese and anti-Shiite sentiment, which Suharto never would have tolerated. But we have to remember that our young democracy “is still a work in progress,” and we’re improving every year. Governing ourselves may be harder than just doing what we’re told, but it is labor worth performing.

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