|Councilman Al Hoang's Speech at Indonesia Diaspora Congress in Los Angeles|
|Written by Joe Phan|
|Sunday, 08 July 2012 08:28|
Councilman Al Hoang's Speech at Indonesia Diaspora Congress in Los Angeles
CONNECTING VOICES IN THE INDONESIAN DIASPORA FOR A BETTER MOTHERLAND INDONESIA
The Honorable Ambassador Dino and his beautiful wife,
The Honorable Consul General Al Basura (and my condolence to his recently deceased father-in-law);
The Horable Consul General in LA
The Honorable Minister of Tourisim and all Honrables;
Ladies and Gentlemen:
It is such an honor for me, as Councilmember of District F Houston where the Indonesian Consul General Establishment in Houton is located, to be here today as a speaker but also to be welcomed as an honorable member of the Indonesian diaspora. You wonder why in the whole wide world the Honorable Ambassador invited me as a speaker. For sure there are many other more qualified and eloquent speakers and I am humbled before their wisdom, but the Ambassador invited me because we have a “karma.”
A couple of months ago, the Honorable Consul General Al Basnura in Houston invited me to the 30th Anniversary Establishment of the Consul General in Houston. Fortunately, the Honorable Ambassador Dino and his beautiful wife were there. The Ambassador introduced his lovely wife as follows: “This is my wife. She is a dentist. Every female dentist in Indonesia is like this. This is the country of Indonesia.” What a wonderful remark because not only the Ambassador introduced his wife but also he introduced Indonesia to all participants including but not limited to 93 consular corps in Houston. That is what we call “marketing” for the better of Indonesia. The Ambassador played his role perfectly. My compliment to all of you for having such a visionary diplomat and leader among you such as Honorable Ambassador Dino.
Honorable Consul General Al Basnura introduced me as Citycouncilmember of Houston to present the Certificate of Recognition as well as to say a few words. I thanked the Ambassador as well as the Honorable Consul Genreral, then I made my remark: “Ambassador and all, this is my wife, Diana Nguyen. Every Asian female in district F, especially the Vietnamese, is at least or equal to my wife.” Everybody laughed because the Ambassador’s wife and my wife are like twin sisters. I marketed the City of Houston, District F, Asian communities as a whole, Vietnamese Community of which I am orginated, but also Indonesian Consul General Establishment. From that remark, the Honorable Ambassdor Dino and I were hooked.
On behalf of the City of Houston, I told the guests at the 30thAnniversary Reception the following story:
Late February and early March 2012, on behalf of City of Houston, I attended the International Convention on Urbanization in Shenchen, China. Many mayors and councilmembers of big cities were in Shenchen. They delivered long speeches about their cities and I saw participants lost interest. My staff already prepared a speech for me. I was one of the last speakers. I said to myself, I am not going to bore the audience by delivering a already prepared long speech. I decided to give a off-the-cuff speech.
I came to the podium, I said: “Ladies and Gentlemen, I know it is already late in the afternoon and you are already exhausted. Many of you probably are already fall asleep of long speeches. I am not going to torture you with long speech.” Immediately the audience clapped their hands for applause.
I continued: “They call Shenchen is the miracle of China because within 30 years Shenchen grows from a fishing village of 50,000 people to be a huge metropolitan of over 15 million folks. In 1984, Houston was the first city to sign the Sister City Agreement with Shenchen, at that time, Shenchen was small and unknown to the world, but now, as a miracle, Shenchen amazed the whole world and has surpassed Houston tremendously.
“Similar to Shenchen, Houston is the miracle of the USA. 176 years ago, Houston was founded on a mosquito swamp. Nobody believed that Houston could survived. Many times the founding fathers decided to abandon the city because of epidemics. But now, Houston is the 4th largest city in the USA. It has the largest and best medical center. The medical center in Houston is larger than downtown Dallas. Houston has the longest port in the world, 85 kilometer long and three airports of which many labled as the ‘Window of the World’ or ‘the Nexus of Latin America and Asia.’ Houston has Nasa Headquarter, from space, astronauts call back ‘Houston, Houston, we have a problem, please help us.” Houston is now the capital energy of the world with large refineries located in Pasadena. Houston is the capital of Nafta (North America Free Trade Agreement). Houston has 11 districts and 1 district is an international district as a proof of its diversity. The Houston metropolitan has more than 350,000 asians. Last year, Houston was listed as number one economic engine of North America and number one city for celibacy.
“What is the key to Houston’s success, tranforming a mosiquito swamp into a modern first class city? The key to that success is visionary leaders who had courage to transform ordinary things into extraordinary things. Ordinary things such as the presence of international immigrants to this City, the City takes advantage of it, creating international district to attract tourism and investment from all over the world, and that is extraordinary. The success of Houston continues because of such vision and policy.”
Coming to the story of Indonesia and Indonesia diaspora communities all over the world, especially in the United States, what are the issues and what should be done?
Indonesia is the 4th largest nation in population with about 250 million people and about another 1.5 million in the diaspora. At this point, military perspective, no imminent enemy from outside. If there is any enemy, it is the enemy within, it is the internal conflicts between ethnics and struggle of powers, it is the clashes of religion extremists. Indonesia has about 17,500 islands, a natural resources for tourism and seafood. Blessed by the wonderful tropical climate and numerous natural resources, Indonesia is enjoying a stable growing economy and it is one of the world growing middle powers.
We thank God for such blessing but we also have to endeavour more for preparation of disasters as well as a better Indonesia. Look across the Straight, Singapore, an island nation who gained their Independence from Malaysia in 1966, already became one of the first nations with one of the highest income per capita. How did Singapore do it? If Singaporean can do it, Indoneisan can do it too.
Singapore’s national logo, a mythical animal, merlion, head of a lion and tail of a fish, is the representation of Singaporean’s will. In Asian’s concept, the fish passes the holy trial water ring, the fish becomes a dragon or a lion. Singaporean believes their success is only half way, the head just passed and transformed itself to a lion but the tail has not passed; therefore, the tail stil is a fish tail. Since the success is not in full, it reminds Singaporeans that they have to try harder and harder everyday so that the transfomation of a lion would take place in a near future.
Indonesia has been blessed but Indonesia is still behind a lot of countries. Indonesia has to learn from Singapore not to be satisfied of such success but to try harder and harder so that the success would reach its climax.
How did Singapore do it?
Internally they adopted the Middle Road Policy, that is not too extreme on the left or the right, to unify the country. Unity to have teamwork is the utmost important. Unity requires the honoring of human rights and freedom of religion. However, extreme activities either on the left or on the right (such as the bombing in Bally Resort) in this modern time intensify apathy from foreigners, and as a result, investments and tourism would not pour in the country whereby ultimately the one who suffers are the people in the country themselves.
Second, Singaporeans know how to exhaust their natural resources inside and outside of the country.
Singapore is a small island nation, land is so limited and precious, so Singaporeans exhausted and utilized every single inch in their country. Taking advantage of their white sand beaches, they built beautiful resorts and casinos. They also so built medical centers to treat pneunomia and cancer and this is one of their largest industries bringing large income and jobs for Singaporeans.
Outside, they worked closely with the Tcheochou and Fujian communities so that these communities are their marketing agents to the world. The majority of Singaporeans have their ancestral root in Tcheochou and Fujian, China. They coped the model from the Jewish diaspora communities. In 72 A.D, the Roman Empired trampled Jerusalem and erased the Jewish State. For almost 2000 years, Jewish had to wander all over the world until the late 18thcentury, a Jewish philopher in Germany by the name of Thedore Herzl promoted the philosophy of Zionism. Zinonism teaches that the hill of Zion in Jerusalem is God’s stool and the people that occupy Zion are to be blessed by God of this life and the next life. Jewish all over the world migrated to Jerusalem, and after World War II, with the help of England and the United States, in 1948, the State of Israel was founded. With a few million people, the State of Israel would not and could not survive amidst the animosity of over a billion Arabs, unless they have had support from the United States and Europe. The Jewish Diaspora has played an important role to get that support from all governments making sure Israel would not be eradicated by their enemies. Jewish diaspora has business persons, politicians, engineers, doctors, etc like other people, but they connected with one another to form a strong grassroot supporting political candidates and lobbying politicians to support Israel. Further, Jewish diaspora communities become the liason marketing tourism to Israel as well as selling Israelite products abroad helping the strong growth of Israel’s economy. Tcheochou and Fujian communities did exactly the same as the Jewish to help back Singapore and their homeland country, China. That is one of the reasons why Singapore becomes one of the first nations after only about 4 decades of its Independence.
Indonesia is a middle power, but to transform Indonesia into a strong power, Indonesia needs to learn the experience from the Jewish communities as well as other Asian communities such as the Fujian. Fortunately, the Honorable Ambassador Dino is a visionary leader, that is why he organized this wonder Congress. This is only the beginning, we need to follow up. The Congress should be held annually and it should be rotated to other cities. Each city will contribute a different perspective and experience to the Congress.
Vice versa, the Motherland Indonesia also has to support the diaspora communities to grow stronger. It is a mutual, a reciprocal relationship. The diaspora communities should form a central diaspora community to connect all communities together and to coordinate events. The diaspora communities should always think of themselves as the images, voices, marketing agents, liasions, and ambassadors to local people, entrepreneurs, and governments. Make other people and governments admire and work with Indonesia through the image of Indonesian diaspora communities. Form Sister City between USA and Indonesia or Europe and Indonesia because the Sister City mechanic is growing stronger and better day by day.
Hopefully my experience and perspective can contribute something to this Congress so that we will build a better world, a better Indonesia, and a better Indonesian Diaspora Community.
On behalf of the City of Houston, respectfully I request the next Indonesian Diaspora Convention to be held in Houston because Houston is the most hospital and welcomed city. Many thanks.
|Last Updated on Sunday, 08 July 2012 08:41|