Ahok Without Fear: 5 Totally Badass Basuki Quotes

1. “I, too, reject the FPI”

The extremist Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) is getting ready to stage a massive rally with thousands of people tomorrow against Deputy Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama and his upcoming promotion to Governor of Jakarta. The hard-line group has said they reject Ahok because, in the words of FPI Jakarta chief Slaim Bin Umar Alatas, “He is not a Muslim and he is too arrogant.” FPI has also put up multiple banners throughout the city saying “Tolak Ahok! Harga mati!” (Reject Ahok! No negotiation!)

Ahok’s response to thousands of people coming out to threaten and protest against him personally?

I am fine with it. I, too, reject the FPI,” he told journalists at City Hall on Monday, as quoted by Liputan6.com

Ahok  went on to say, “There is a law [that regulates those issues]. If they talk or threaten [others] on the basis of religion and race, they could be criminally charged. Let’s just wait for it. If there is any evidence of them committing any offense [on those issues], we will have no mercy,” he said.

As an ethnic-Chinese Christian politician in Muslim-majority Indonesia, Ahok has faced his fair share of challenges throughout his career. But two of his defining traits are his fearless attitude and his willingness to say whatever the hell is on his mind. In contrast to most Indonesian politicians (and politicians in general, really) Ahok is a straightshooter who says what he means and means what he says. 

This, of course, makes him highly quotable. So, on the eve of his biggest public battle yet, we take a quick look back at a few of his more memorable quotes.

2. “In Indonesia, we could just wait for death. It was more relaxing”

In an excellent interview with Ahok in Vice News, journalist Ethan Harfenist spoke to the soon-to-be-governor about his personal history and governing style, getting several great quotes in the process. 

Talking about the anti-Chinese violence that gripped Jakarta in 1998, Ahok reminisced about, in the article’s words,  “barricading himself within his community, armed with Molotov cocktails and air-soft rifles to protect his then-pregnant wife and family.”

When asked why he and his family chose to stay in Indonesia after the experience, Ahok replied, “Those times — sometimes it was very funny, you know? We still make jokes… People would ask, ‘why didn’t you go abroad?’ We said, ‘for what? This is our country.’ 

“If we went to Europe, we would have to work very hard until we die. ‘So why didn’t you go to China?’ There are already many people there… we would search for death there. So it was better in Indonesia. In Indonesia, we could just wait for death. It was more relaxing.

3. “But if I have to kill 1,000 people…”

Later in the Vice New interview, when talking about his no-holds barred governing style, Ahok said he didn’t go looking for trouble – he just does what he feels is neccesary to protect his constituents.   “I just do my job. Even the king of the jungle — the lion, the tiger — never eats or kills its children.” ‘

“It’s the same philosophy: when you become a government official you never want to kill a citizen of your city. You want to help and fill their stomachs and their wallets… (But) if I have to kill 1,000 people for the sake of 10 million because (bad citizens) don’t want to change, I will kill them.

4. “Let’s just see whose career will be destroyed”

Ahok definitely doesn’t have a problem criticizing his fellow politicians, which has already made him quite a few enemies in the Jakarta administration. His most famous feud would be his war of words with  Abraham “Lulung” Lunggana, a deputy speaker of the City Council. 

Lulung and Ahok first butted heads over the city’s plans to rid Tanah Abang of its many street vendors and illegal parking attendants which routinely turned the area into total gridlock. Lulung was well-known to collect protection money from the illegal activity and fought bitterly against the administration’s plan to clean up Tanah Abang, which happened despite his protestations. 

Later, Ahok drew Lulung’s ire when the Deputy Governor called attention to the Deputy Speaker’s lime green Lamborghini, which turned out to have a fake license plate and registration papers
Lulung’s rage finally boiled over when he told reporters, “Ahok needs to be destroyed. His career as deputy governor should be destroyed,” he said as quoted by Kompas.com

“I said before that he needed a mental check-up, and now it’s been proven. Everyone says he’s crazy. That’s why I say his career needs to be destroyed. He cannot be inaugurated as governor.”

When asked about Lulung’s comments, Ahok nonchalantly replied, “Destroyed career? Let’s just see whose career will be destroyed.

Ahok added, “[Lulung] already said I’m really crazy, right? Well then, if I’m crazy, let’s see.”

But don’t worry, it looks like Ahok and Lulung are good buddies now. Lulung even wants Ahok to borrow his Lamborghini.

5. “The more racist they are, the happier I am.”

In an extensive interview with Tempo magazine, the Vice Governor said his fearsome persona is not just an act or a leadership technique. Rather, that’s just the way he is and it’s better to be true to yourself. 

In the interview, Ahok said he has actually softened his tone these days, but admits his style still generates a lot of resistance. “People don’t like me, usually, for two reasons: upsetting their agendas and racism.”

When asked which of the two was harder to face, Ahok replied, “Both are not difficult, I just face them. Who does this country really belong to? The more racist they get, the happier I am.

In other words, FPI and all the other racist assholes out there can bring it on, Ahok isn’t backing down.


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