Tuesday, February 5, 2013

On Currency Declarations

In Angola its not allowed to take local currency out out the country. I not sure why anyone would want to  - much like Yemeni riyals and Bangladeshi taka you will have a tough time finding a moneychanger  willing to exchange your kwanzas (buy or sell) for a more serious currency. The law mainfests itself with a currency declaration (and accompanying queue) each and every time you leave the country.
I'm curious to know the reasons why. Are these declarations designed to prevent large outflows of local currency? How would it benefit someone to carry local currency outside the country if they were unable to exchange it? Is it merely an artifact from an earlier time? Anyone know the reasoning?

Monday, February 4, 2013

political update

It was a bad week in Indonesian politics. At least it was for the politicians. Consider: last week Wanda Hamidah from PAN was caught up in a drug bust at the home of TV celebrity Raffi Achmad. More fool her. However the real news was the hilarious demise of Luthfi Hasan Ishaaq on corruption allegations along with the salacious arrest of his bag man, Ahmad Fathanan,  who was arrested wearing nothing but a surprised look in a Jakarta hotel. Whats makes this funny and ironic is that Pak Lufthi was hitherto chairman of the PKS or the local franchise of the muslim brotherhood in Indonesia. The same PKS that cloaked themselves in religious self-righteousness as the only party free from corruption. The same PKS that championed the pornography law. The same PKS whose parliamentary cadre was caught viewing pornography(on a government PC!) while sitting in on house deliberations. Oh how the pious have fallen.

Predictably the PKS brass have blamed everyone else for their erstwhile leader's poor judgement citing mysterious forces, foreign powers, and even the Joos.  I suppose when facts or evidence are not in abundance playing on the prejudices of the nation is the best that a desperate party can come up to save their sorry asses. I thought that I was a cynic but these guys must have tattooed  the insides of their eyelids with  HL Mencken's insight, (and I paraphrase here) "you can never go broke underestimating the intelligence or the American Indonesian public".

The only good news from all this is that with elections just around the corner there is some opportunity to rid the nation of the parasites who feed upon it. Hopefully Indonesians will demand more from their leaders then the cynical cloaked-in-piety lot that they are stuck with till 2014. Kudos too to the KPK who are ever so slowly landing bigger and bigger fish in the corrupt pool of Jakarta politics.