Indonesia Expat
Comedy Outreach

Pocket Guide to How to be a Bureaucrat

Follow these simple rules to being a good Bureaucrat and enjoy countless benefits for you, your friends and your family.

– Don’t set deadlines. These only cause trouble and get in the way of future endeavors.

– If your subordinates suggest or ask for a timeline, or if you are forced by your superior to set a deadline, always demand it be extended.

– When your staff give you a formally presented proposal, shamelessly nit-pick and critique.  Everything is fair game: the colour of the background, the font style and size. Twelve main points?  No, there can only be five. Cut out seven. We must mirror Pancasila after all.

– Belittle your subordinates and showboat your limited knowledge of the topic at hand. Be more concerned of the quality of the gorengan snack or what time lunch will be served than the purpose of the presentation.

– When one of your subordinates comes and privately gives you a really good suggestion, immediately call a meeting of your entire staff and present this great idea as your own, tell a story about how the idea came to you suddenly in a dream or while you were having your morning mandi.

– Don’t communicate. Not even with your closest, most trusted subordinates. Keep everyone in the dark. Keep them guessing. Enjoy the freedom.

– -If by chance you are forced to communicate, be non-committal and vague. You must learn the art of using slippery language. Be elusive. Be elusive in every sense of the word: verbally, physically, geographically, and most importantly financially.

– Travel as much as possible. Actually, travel more than possible.

– Don’t publish your travel plans, or even share them with your subordinates. The less they know the better, for their own protection, of course. You would never want to put them in a position where they would have to lie.

– Don’t make decisions.

– If by chance you are forced to make any actual decisions, feel free to change the decision at any time and deny any knowledge of the previous alleged “decision”.

– Don’t reward, encourage, motivate or develop any of your subordinates. Keep them ignorant and in fear. Always remember: every single one of them is a threat.

– Avoid confrontation.

– Take great offense to any criticism. “How dare he…” and  “How dare you…” are always good defenses. “Tidak enak” is always a good safety net as well.

– Have a grand trophy case in your office. Send one of your subordinates down to the local trophy shop to buy lots of trophies. Fill the case with them. Trophies are always impressive and intimidating.

– Have your picture taken wearing a medal and have the picture published in the local newspapers and magazines.

– Never show up on time to anything. Expect everyone to wait for you. Make no apologies for wasting other people’s time.

– Poke fun at your guests and get terribly offended when they poke fun at you. Storm out of the room and don’t invite them, their family members or anyone else associated with them back.

– Be of poor health. It’s always a good reason to bow out, arrive late, leave early, etc., etc.

If you’re already successfully following all of these rules, congratulations! You’ve already made it! You are a typical Indonesian bureaucrat. You have no need for this Pocket Guide. Feel free to toss this out the tinted window of your government-issued car.

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