Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Andung's English & Reshuffle

Today The Jakarta Post published an interesting story, Andung's English irks SBY in India. This is about Industry Minister Andung Abdullah Nitimiharja's poor English when he raised the question to Infosys CEO during a meeting in India with president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.
Too bad that only the paper run the story while so many journalists were attending the event. Some journalists said it was the president who asked Andung to raise the question. "To test his English," one journalist told me this afternoon seriously.
But it turn out that Andung failed to raise good questions. "But God sake, for what reason the president tested his English in front of foreign friends? I really can't buy that argument as it had slammed our own face," I protested.
"To confirm his decision to kick Andung out of the cabinet," the journalist said.
Andung is one of ministers in the list of reshuffle for some analysts due to his poor performance in improving the nation's ailing manufacturing sector. But I am not sure the president had to do that. It was just a tragedy for all of us.
Andung, in my opinion, is the easiest target for reshuffle. He has weak political support anyway. Look at his background. Long-time staff of Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM), he was promoted to deputy chairman of the agency and then move to State-Owned Enterprises ministry.
There are many theories about the Karaoke lover's appointment as cabinet member. The first, he is Sundanese, the second largest ethnic in Indonesia, with strong support from Ginanjar Kartasasmita (close ally of Vice President Jusuf Kalla) and Solichin GP (retired general). Others said he was promoted by Hamzah Haz (former vice president).
Born in Bandung, 4 April 1950, the name Andung was derived from Bandung, the West Java capital. Husband to Dian Afiana (43) and father of Andre Andika Adiguna (17) and Dhea Adelia Andini (12) looks younger than his age, thanks to his regular sport.
He enrolled to Bogor Institute of Agriculture. Hold a PhD in Development Studies from University of Pittsburg (USA), Andung should have better English than me. And a simple TOEFL test should have been done last year when the president establish the cabinet. Doing that now and in front of foreigners, would be a big mistake.




Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do you got any story how he got his Phd from a US university without sufficient English skill?

How did he wrote his Thesis?

November 24, 2005 2:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yosef did you already write about Institut Manajemen Global Indonesia (IMGI)...??

just how easy anybody can buy a masters or even Phd degree in Indonesia...


November 24, 2005 2:52 AM  
Anonymous edison chouest offshore said...

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November 24, 2005 3:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi yosef,

i see ur blog got spam (the last comment). to avoid it, turn on the 'word verification' comment. here the steps: click the settings-->comments-->word-verication (turn it into "on") :)

btw, thanks for the good piece and andung.


November 25, 2005 12:21 AM  
Anonymous rex said...

Though as much your post would like to defend Mr. Andung, your post ironically brought to ligth the key issue with Mr. Andung (and few other ministers) - competencies.

The ability to speak good English should go without question these days, especially if one holds key ministerial position like Andung. With global economics that uses English as its lingua franca, it is very reasonable expect a minister with a minimum ability to speak decent, intelligle English.

If Mr. Andung was not able to speak decent English by asking impromptu questions as what happened at Infosys, then how would he hold important discussions with his counterparts from other countries or the industries.

Therefore, this is a big lesson for Indonesia - choose people for their competencies, not just out of petty politics. And if Mr. Andung is reshuffled out of the cabinet, he deserves it - he is simply not competent enough to serve the people. Nothing else, and nothing less.

November 27, 2005 6:46 PM  
Blogger yosef ardi said...

I agree. I didn't defend Andung's inability to speak decent English or his position in the cabinet. I just want to remind Indonesian leaders to pick the right man in the first place.

November 28, 2005 9:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


In Mr. Andung Nitmiharja's profile appeared in "Perspectives on World History and Current Events" website, it read in part: A graduate of engineering from the Bogor Institute of Agriculture, Andung later took his masters in economic and social development at the University of Pittsburgh, and pursued a doctorate in development studies at the same university.

Did he really graduated with a doctoral degree or merely pursued the degree at University of Pittsburgh?


December 02, 2005 10:24 PM  

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