Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Goodbye Pak Sadli (2)

Like AP, I remember Pak Sadli, despite his Mafia Berkeley label, as a friendly and approachable person. He was also one among very few seniors who were very active in intellectual events of the day and kept updating his knowledge on current issues.

Several years ago, when I managed to have my first op-ed published in The Jakarta Post, Dede Basri told me that Pak Sadli liked my writing --presumably he asked Dede who I am, since I put LPEM as my home institution. I was surprised. Perhaps more than Pak Sadli realized, that kind of compliment to the first-timer is actually very encouraging.

The second encounter with Pak Sadli was in an economic conference in Batam. There was a rather chaotic hotel arrangement, so I, the Sadlis, and Joao Saldanha of East Timor were stranded in the lobby. We chatted about various things. He told us, among others, that he had asked Widjojo to write his experience in managing the economy. It seems to me that Pak Sadli did care about the transfer of knowledge to the younger generation of economists in the country.

He also told us that he wanted to see the Barelang Bridge, also known as Jembatan Habibie. Recalling the old debate on Habibienomics vs Widjojonomics, I can't help but grin.

Most importantly, Pak Sadli had great contribution in fighting the public economic illiteracy. If you read his writings in the media, you can see that while being aware of the political economy at play, far from being die-hard ideological as he was at times sympathetic to the opposite view, he stayed with economic theories or intuition in his analysis. For sure, he was not just another economic populist observer.

His death is a great loss. May he rest in peace.

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