He may only be 21, but Jakarta-born Rizki Aljupri is just one semester away from his Washburn University MBA in Kansas and running for a seat in Indonesia's Regional Legislative Council (DPD).
What have you been doing this summer?
I’ve just finished my internship. I worked for the American-Indonesian Chamber of Commerce over the summer, and right now I’m just enjoying my summer vacation while getting ready for next year’s election. I still have one semester before I get my MBA.
How do you manage your activities between Jakarta and Kansas?
Luckily, I have friends and family members who are helping me out from Jakarta, and I always keep myself up to date with what’s going on with the election, what’s going on in Indonesia. I can’t wait to come back for good in December.
Most people your age are having fun rather than joining political activities. Why are you interested in politics?
I’ve always been interested in politics, but I’d never thought about running for office. It all started when I was interning for one of the members of the Indonesian House of Representatives. I got the opportunity to see what the real situation is in our parliament and I feel like there is a desperate need for young people of our age, the real young people, to get involved in politics and to create a change. So, I’d love to start that in 2014. If it goes well, there will be more and more people in their 20s running for office in 2019.
Don’t you feel too young to be running for office?
I feel young, but I don’t feel too young. Like I said, I think being young has advantages and disadvantages. People may say that I don’t have a lot of experience in politics, but the good thing is that it’s good that I don’t have much experience in politics: I’m young, I don’t offer anything from my past, I offer my future for this country.
How did people react when you first said you wanted to run for office?
Many people asked, ‘Why politics?’ or ‘You’re too young,’ but there are so many others that said ‘keep working hard, it’s not going to be easy,’ and also ‘I hope there will be more young people like you in 2019 who care about the country and run for office, because the faster we change Indonesia in a better direction, the better we will become.’
What has changed since you decided to run for office?
Nothing much, but maybe now people pay more attention to what I’m doing. I realize that and I’m okay with that. I love talking to people and right now I tell them that I’m running for office so we have more things to talk about instead of just talking about high school and regular stuff.
What’s your plan if you don’t get elected?
My back-up plan, I always love this question. I will go back to the States to pursue my PhD and hopefully start working in investment banking because my studies have always been about finance. Then, I would really love to stay in Jakarta to help this country.
Why are you running for DPD, not DPR (House of Representatives) instead?
Simple, I don’t feel like joining any political party yet, at least for the moment. I want to stay independent and get things done with the help of my colleagues. Also, I don’t have any intention at all to pursue a career in politics. I’m still young, I just want to create a change. Hopefully my colleagues will remember the change.
So, politics is not in your future career plan?
At least for now. I think politics isn’t something you can pursue your career in. It’s more of a passion. I think if you want to make a change, politics is the most efficient and effective way.
What do you think about Indonesian youth in politics?
We do need more young people getting involved in politics. I’m very glad that since the gubernatorial election last year, more and more people have been engaging in politics. I hope the number will increase and as I said, hopefully in 2019 there will be more young people running for office. Believe me, politics is the most effective way to make a change if you do it in the right way. Don’t stay away from politics. Get involved!
Rizki Aljupri was talking with Adelia Anjani