English Corner

The New Order Story [9] Stammering, but Moerdiono is the Symbol of the State of Existence

Senin, 15 Maret 2021, 07:04 WIB
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The New Order Story [9] Stammering, but Moerdiono is the Symbol of the State of Existence
Moerdiono (Foto: Antara)

Pepih Nugraha

Penulis senior

Sunday, January 27, 2008, I was behind the wheel of purple sedan when a radio station I was listening to suddenly broadcast Moerdiono's voice, more like sobbing, announcing that President Soeharto had died. I know exactly that the voice of Mr. Moer, Moerdiono's nickname.

I then tapered my ears as the vehicle left the Veteran toll road, then went through the Tanah Kusir and Jalan Bendi TPU, the route I usually took to the "headquarters" Kompas on Jalan Palmerah. The call then came in.

Mas Tom, Editor in Chief of Kompas Daily, whose full name is Soeryopratomo (now ambassador for Singapore), contacted him by telephone. "Have you heard that Pak Harto died?" I said yes. The usual operational standard for an editor in chief who contacted his colleagues in the field was myself, who at that time was on duty at Kompas.com.

What I want to tell you here is not how the Kompas or Kompas.com daily covered and published / broadcast the news of the death of the Indonesian leader who had been in power for 32 years. What I want to tell you is Moerdiono.

Through the radio in the cabin of the car and from the stuttering tone of his voice, Moerdiono really wept over his boss's death. He is a loyalist without a doubt. Soeharto loyalists.

For people who had felt the breath of the past while under the power of the Great General, it might be easy to link Moerdiono's memories with the New Order; his "voice" and his post "Minister of State Secretary". Two things that stick with Mr. Moer.

Just to remind you, in the New Order era in the Suharto era, three well-known State Secretary were born, namely Alamsjah Ratu Perwiranegara, Sudharmono, and Moerdiono. However, it was Moerdiono who was the most phenomenal.

In the era after Pak Moer, the State Secretary fell to Saadilah Mursjid, Akbar Tandjung, Muladi, Bondan Gunawan, Djohan Effendi, Bambang Kesoewo, Yusril Ihza Mahendra, Hatta Rajasa, Sudi Silalahi, and Pratikno.

Of all the State Secretary, Pak Moer was the "coolest" one who even tended to be "cold". Cold. His tone of speech when facing dozens of "mike" and the camera beam is really flat, no meaningful intonation, minimal pressure. Just flat. People say, his eyes also tend to sag, not staring at the camera.

But behind his speech that is like an aphasia sufferer, behind his gloomy gaze, there is the dignity of a country. The state is present there. Country exists. Pak Moer speaks for the country. Mister Moer is the country itself. It is always like that.

There was a saying "euuuu ..." between his sentences which had a "very slow" speed. Never did he speak explosively like a boiler or exploding like firecrackers.

Whether it is important information or the country is in a precarious situation, if you want light information or the state is in good condition, if you have to speak for the country, Pak Moer is still like that. Euuuuuu ....

Secretary does come from the word "secret", which means "secret". A secretary is actually a person who is good at keeping secrets; state secret as well as Pak Harto's secret. Mr. Moer, who was born in Banyuwangi, East Java, August 19, 1934, has done his job well.

At first I thought, is it that Pak Moer's daily talk is heavy and slow like that?

But later when I watched the Yuni Shara concert where Pak Moer was lined up as the speech giver, my suspicions fell apart instantly. I heard how Mr. Moer, who has a military background, speaks fluently, is good at joking, and even speaks out loud. Not like Mr. Moer who I often see on the screen.

From there I came to the conclusion that Pak Moer's appearance in front of the camera, in front of domestic and foreign journalists, was deliberately set like that. He must show the authority of a state official, in this case as the holder of state secrets.

As state secretary, Pak Moer should not have spoken. However, the state with its dignity needs to be present and cannot represent it to the "spokesperson" of Menpen Harmoko who sometimes "jokes" in front of the camera.

Pak Moer passed away on October 7, 2011 at the age of 77 or more than three and a half years after Pak Harto's death.

I sent a prayer for Mr. Moer at the grave.

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