Indonesians often look to mystics to explain natural disasters like earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.
And following an earthquake in Yogyakarta in 2006, some 78.1 percent of those polled in the city said that the disaster was a "warning from nature to Indonesia".
And Indonesia’s man in black, the well-known soothsayer Permadi, agrees:
"He (President SBY) has 'hot hands' which are causing these calamities," he said on Metro TV.
So, perhaps before the elections in 2009, the presidential hopefuls should see if they are really mystically minded by taking a little quiz like the one I devised below:
1. The Australian Prime Minister has agreed to provide Indonesia with soft loans for environmental conservation. To thank him do you:
a. reciprocate his generosity by awarding some lucrative contracts to a number of Australian mining companies.
b. ask Rakyat Merdeka to draw a cartoon of him getting intimate with a dingo.
c. take him to the Cave of Semar, sacred to Java's greatest native deity.
2. Merapi volcano is showing signs of increasing activity, raising fears that villages close to the volcano will be wiped out when it erupts. Do you:
a. get advice from seismologists.
b. agree to build a nuclear power plant on its slopes.
c. ask an octogenarian known by the name of M'bah Maridjan to round up some local men and ask them to run (naked of course) around their villages to ward off an eruption.
3. You’re with the Australian and Japanese Prime Ministers at the Presidential Palace. A photographer asks to take a picture of the three of you. Do you:
a. agree to the photographer’s request.
b. say that you don’t want your picture taken now thank you very much.
c. tell the Australian prime minister you are busy and only have your picture taken with the Japanese prime minister because it is bad luck to have three people in a photograph.
4. To save lives from possible tsunamis in the future do you:
a. develop an effective early warning system.
b. pay heed to what the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Honolulu is actually saying.
c. tell the people on the south coast of Java not to wear green.
Key: if you’ve answered c) every time, you’ve got what it takes to be president!!!!