The shape of the world a generation from now will be influenced far more by how we communicate the values of our society to others than by military or diplomatic superiority. William Fulbright, 1964

Wednesday, January 21, 2015


As some day it may happen

Sung to Sir Arthur Sullivan’s tune from The Mikado by Ko-Ko, the Lord High Executioner. This is the highest rank a commoner can reach in Titipu.

Koko: As some day it may happen, that a victim must be found,
I've got a little list — I've got a little list.
Of society offenders, who might well be underground,
And who never would be missed — who never would be missed!

There's the pestilential nuisances, who find fault in all I’ve done
Who’ve never seen much more to life, than talk on TV One.
All politicians who have sticky hands, yet claim they’re virgin pure -
All bureaucrats who treat small folk, as though they are manure -
And think their jobs in offices, will always be secure -
I’ve got them on my list! I’ve got them on my list!
All seatwarmers who still say, ‘Yes’, when really they mean ‘No’ -
And members of the Red and White, whose time is up, so go -
And ‘experts’ who don’t know when, their use-by date has passed ­­-
They'd none of 'em be missed — they'd none of 'em be missed!

Chorus: He's got 'em on the list —they'll none of 'em be missed!

Koko: There's relics from the Orde Baru, and others of that race -
And ones who knew Bung Karno, and claim they were good mates -
Somewhere they’ve got the photos, but these must have been misplaced -
I've got them on the list! I’ve got them on the list!

And retainers in the Palace, who say his daughter was just fine,
And what a pity she’s not here instead, to help us pass the time.
To wash white shirts and trousers black, they really do regret -
And cleaning up the ash, from tattooed Susi’s cigarettes.
Despite my good wife’s orders, it seems they only want to shirk.
Do I have to keep on saying that we’re here to work, work, work?

Chorus: They never would be missed — they never would be missed!

Koko: My fuel tax hike was just the tick, I really have to say,                                                                      It showed that I’m courageous, and will always get my way.                                                        Big business says it’s overjoyed, though shoppers aren’t so keen -                                              Which proves the point, that in this job, you sometimes must be mean.
Chorus:  Oh surely he means clean, he really must mean clean!

Koko: The television talking heads, who praise with grating whine -
All leaderships but this, and every policy but mine -
And the general from Jordan,  who is happiest on a horse,
Who still has failed to come to terms, or even show remorse
And can’t read signs that clearly show, he really should desist -
I don't think he'd be missed — I'm sure he'd not be missed!

Chorus: He's got him on the list,                                                                                         We’re sure he'll not be missed!

Koko: To those who read Republika, and think its prose well drawn -
The ones who missed my Kompas piece, or said it was a yawn -
Electors who couldn’t get to vote, but now get to complain -
Menteng economists who say, inflation won’t cause pain.
If they continue to persist, I’ll put them on my list!

My revolution’s mental, and my style is so laid back –
My lunches come from streetcarts, so there’s no time to be slack.
Ambitious men who want to try a blusukan or two –
A walkabout can clear the air, but there’s a danger if you do –
Don’t promise things you can’t supply, for no-one will forgive a lie
And you’ll be on a list, then I’ll be on a list!

I am but just a common man, a Solo fellow if you please -
Who though he speaks in Javanese, can also tell the wood from trees -
So I am sure, that you know more, of who we should - and shouldn’t tease.
Like idle legislators who’d rather stall and talk – not do -
The task of filling up the blanks I'd rather leave to you.

Chorus: You may put 'em on the list — you may put 'em on the list;
And they'll none of 'em be missed — they'll none of 'em be missed! Duncan Graham, with apologies to W S Gilbert.
(First published in The Jakarta Post 14 December 2014)

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