Once upon a time there was a man who thought of himself as a lion.
To begin his so-called “save Indonesia” campaign, he proudly rode a Portuguese horse in front of thousands of supporters after descending from a helicopter in March this year. Talk about making an entrance.
Years before that, his camp aired some TV ad, portraying him as the messiah or liberator of the archipelago. To ensure his pedigree did not go unnoticed, the commercial mentioned that he is the son of a noted Indonesian economist. He is also the grandson of the founder of one the country’s oldest state banks, Bank Negara Indonesia, and the first leader of the Committee for Preparatory Work for Indonesian Independence. Naturally, the ad did not forget to add ‘Raden’, the Javanese royal title, to the grandfather’s name.
Unfortunately, almost half of Indonesians seemed to fall for the ad.
Over and over again, the man who thought of himself as a lion expressed his ambition to restore Indonesia’s status as an “Asian tiger”. To the media, he claimed to be the only one who could return this country to its former glory (whatever ‘glory’ according to him means).
The man who thought of himself as a lion insists he has to win the election. So when asked by The Straits Times what he would do if he ended up losing the election, he said, “Losing is not an option.”
And, sure enough, as the quick counts results were in on the day of the election on July 9, the man who thought of himself as a lion chose not to concede defeat. Instead, he posted disturbing messages on his verified Twitter account to assure his followers that he was the election’s winner. The delusion of grandeur has apparently started.
He criticized his rival for declaring victory, although he also did the same thing. He arrogantly accused his opponent of pretending to be humble, which “was all just an act.” His rival is “not a man of the people”, he said.
The man who thought of himself as a lion seemed to forget it was his camp that first aired a TV ad almost a decade ago in addition of forming a political party as his political machinery to fulfill his presidential ambition.
In an interview, the man who thought of himself as a lion said it was his rival who was “a product of PR campaign.” He used the word ‘stupid’ to describe Indonesians who voted for his rival in the same interview.
The man who thought of himself as a lion has more than once boasted his foreign education and western upbringing. But he now blames foreign actors for his loss.
When a reporter from the English-language The Jakarta Post wanted to ask him a question in a press conference, he smirked and refused to respond to her because of the paper’s stance to endorse his rival, calling the daily’s owner a jerk in Indonesian in front of other journalists. The irony is lost on him that it is he who is backed by two media tycoons: Aburizal Bakrie and Hary Tanoesoedibjo.
But of course, to him, only the media that support him are worth responding to.
A lion does not concern himself with the opinions of the sheep, according to the HBO’s series Game of Thrones. However, this man, who clearly thought of himself as a lion, instead showed that he did care about the so-called “sheep’s opinions.” So, can he still think of himself as a lion?
When the official tally announced by the General Elections Committee (KPU) confirmed his defeat, he refused to accept it, and later filed a complaint to the Constitutional Court. He who once said he would respect KPU’s decision now blamed the Commission, accusing them of “fraudulent practice”.
The self-proclaimed savior of Indonesia’s refusal to accept the fact that he lost caused the stock market to plunge temporarily. He even called on world leaders not to congratulate Jokowi.
The man who thought of himself as a lion, who once proudly conveyed his desire for Indonesia to thrive, has put the nation’s democracy in limbo. The self-proclaimed messiah for Indonesia has revealed himself to be a problem for democracy.
God knows how long it will take before this man, who thought of himself as a lion, gracefully accepts defeat and stops his “roar”. Right now, instead of making him sounds like the lion that he thinks of himself, his roar sounds like the whimpering of a sore loser.
About Amahl S. Azwar
Amahl is a starving writer who lives in Bandung, West Java. Follow @mcmahel on Twitter and blog www.mcmahel.wordpress.com.