Wednesday, September 28, 2011

it's not about diplomats, it's about political norms

When you read the news about parking ticket scandal in New York and maybe my post, you may easily fall into simple (but silly) conclusion that all Indonesian diplomats in New York particularly, or in any other country in general are a group of corrupt officials. Please be careful with such conclusion. I want to make sure that we should not join in the 'blaming game' and put 'labels' on Indonesian diplomats. I think, we need to take this matter in terms of 'government norms'. I define the 'norms' here as how we respond to the fact that we had violate a law, why we did that and how to avoid such things to happen again.

Yet, I found that Indonesian officials really don't see this as a matter of 'norms'. Instead, the saw the whole scandal as their 'blaming game'. The recent respond from Indonesian government shows such a typical, but expected deny and blame spirit:
The Indonesian government on Tuesday blamed a lack of legal parking spaces in New York City for the hundreds of thousands of dollars in unpaid packing tickets its diplomatic officials have racked up."This is not a new problem. It has been happening a long time," Triyono Wibowo, the deputy foreign minister, said on Tuesday.Of 35 embassy staff members in New York, only one was assigned a parking space, he said.
[Triyono] added that the city should provide sufficient parking for all Indonesian diplomats. Priyo Budy Santoso, the House deputy speaker from the Golkar Party, said there should be a special dispensation regarding parking for diplomats."It is customary that diplomats from closely related countries get special treatment," he said
I am not sure I understand this 'blaming' statements. So, Indonesian government think (and demand) that Indonesia delegations should get more priority and spaces? Why and what's the benefit for New York City? Why should they give such special treatment for Indonesia? Why not to other countries, like Egypt or Nigeria?

If and only if New York City provide more parking spaces for all diplomats from all countries, where about the New York City people can park their cars? If Indonesian diplomats consist of 38 members and each of them driving, why should New York City provide 38 parking spaces? Or, why they have to provide parking spaces for each of diplomats? My brain really not working well in this case.

I could not digest the statements (blaming) and it is really not make sense. And the only possible explanation is Indonesian government doesn't like to be the one who make mistakes. They think that they are innocent, thus they blame New York City for not providing all the privilege we (think) deserved. I could not think any other explanation, for sure.

The real irony is that this kind of 'government norms' not solely happened for Indonesian diplomats, but widely and frequently occurs in almost every single action and policies by the government within our homeland. Blaming others for any wrongdoings and claim that they should get all the things that they think they should get. I am curious, how long they will keep this kind of 'norms'?

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Anonymous said...

You think US Embassy in Jakarta have no parking space ?? They blocked the street!! please ask the city of new york method on calculating the parking tiockets..please check the list so that you will understand the facts and evidence. Please if you don't have evidence and facts, don't talk, because you don't know anything and you don't have any proove or evidence. We found many mistakes on such accusation...come to your embassy in Jakarta, so that you will realize what kind of privilege that US Embassy in Jakarta got from Indonesia, compare to what we got from outside the box please..the world is not only NYC..

embun said...

Dear Anonymous,

US Embassy in Jakarta is not the only embassy who got privilege regarding parking space (or public driveway). Australian Embassy as well as any other embassy around the world also got such privilege, if they want it or need it. It is understandable since it still part of their area and it may be a result of sort of an agreement with Jakarta administration or Indonesian government. So, it is not a solid comparison. If it is a problem for Jakarta, Indonesia government could ask US Embassy to pay for the parking space which blocked the street, right?

I don't rely my data from the news, instead use empirical study from Fisman and Miguel (2007) paper. The paper clearly mentioned the sources of their data including all details, i.e. maps of major violation occurred, time series records of each violation, how they identify which country got the tickets, etc. The paper also mentioned about other countries representative in NY, so it is not only about Indonesia. If you think those accusation incorrect, you're free to provide your proof. But don't blame the NY administration for providing number of parking violation made by CD plate cars, esp. from Indonesia. I couldn't think a specific reason why they miscalculate those number specifically for Indonesia.

I don't think this about US Embassy privilege vs Indonesia Embassy privilege. I'm support nor against US in particular, having said I have no sentiment at all against any country. As mentioned above, all embassy around the world have special privilege within their Embassy area. If you ever go to Oslo, Norway or Japan or Canberra, Australia - Indonesian Embassy could take as much parking space as possible around their embassy area. But, beyond their embassy territory, the parking regulation is apply to everyone - including Indonesian and US Embassy officials in Jakarta, Oslo, Canberra, Tokyo, etc. Ups, I forgot - NEW YORK...
But, just like any diplomats from any country, they have immunity against those regulation. The cute question then is why Indonesian diplomats violate those parking regulation more than other countries?