I just got back from Metro TV, for a recording of a special TV program which is due to be broadcasted in Australia.
Special Broadcasting Station (SBS), a government sponsored TV Station, wants to know the perception of Indonesia towards Australia. After Bali and Australian Embassy in Jakarta Bombings, and now Corby trial, so many Australians hate Indonesia. They even told the panelists of the program recording that Bali should belong to Autralia (eh?), not Indonesia. The Australians love Bali, but not the rest of Indonesia. They see the rest of Indonesia as the land of terrorism. Wimar Witoelar, who was also the panelist said that Indonesia is not a terrorist country. We hate terrorism.
I was interested by comments made by Hariman Siregar who was sitting next to me. He said, when Paul Keating was the Prime Minister and and Suharto was still in charge in the Government, the relationship between the two countries were relatively very good. Maybe, it was because Suharto was such a strong leader. He even once expelled Australian reporters who wrote something bad about Indonesia. He was somehow feared in the region and managed to create a perception that Indonesia was a big-brother. But what happened now? There is no more strong man in charge. Hariman Siregar told that Australians should understand that the situation & condition are far more different that what it used to.
About the beautiful Corby, Tang Nguyen (a freelance Vietnamese columnist, based in Jakarta) told that she could not defend her case. No appropriate witness whatsoever brought to the court held in Bali. Not even for the second chance. But in the screen, we saw that one radio show in Australia which showed the conversation with the judges to prove that they couldn't speak English. Hence, they regarded the trial as being not fair. From my point of view, as a marketer, they are just trying to create a perception.
Desy Anway, Metro TV reporter, asked us all how big the impact of a media, if it created a wrong angle. For me, I sticked to the marketing concept that Perception is much more important than reality. And media plays a big role in creating perception.
We should not forget one thing. In reality, Australia's population is only about 16 to 20 millions. (And they call that a continent? even with 220 million people, Indonesia is called a country). That's why Australians think that Indonesia is one. For them, the Bombings in Bali and Jakarta reflect Indonesia as a whole. "Indonesia is islamic country, being the largest moslem population in the world." That's just their perception. In reality, we are a Pancasila-is country. The Australians seem to don't remember that, nor realize. Or is it because they have the wrong perception about Indonesia?
What I am trying to say here, actually, Australia is indeed our neighbour. But Geographically, not Psychologically.