Book Launch: “Steering a Middle Course: From Activist to Secretary General of Golkar” by Sarwono Kusumaatmadja

09 April 2021

Politics is not a career, it is a calling

To Mr Sarwono, the values imparted by his family, as well as the influences of the era in which he grew up, have shaped the person he is today. He believes that his journey from being a student activist and subsequently a politician was a calling to contribute to a wider goal – to serve the community and do good for the people. A strong theme that resonates throughout the book is in staying true to one’s values and doing what is right, which has helped Mr Sarwono achieve success.

Lessons learnt from a unique life in politics

Mr Sarwono was appointed as Secretary General of Golkar, as part of a long term plan by the military to have the organisation evolve into a full-fledged political party. He emphasised three important lessons he learned throughout his years in politics – communicating with clarity, building a good foundation of trust among one’s networks, which would facilitate cooperation, and being original and innovative, as this would broaden the horizon and hearts of people.

Lessons in life to be passed on to future generations

Mr Sarwono believes that regardless of generation, it is important to stick to one’s values as it will serve as a guide to integrity. Secondly, life is not linear and it will be full of surprises, pitfalls and serendipity, which will shape one into being a better person. Thirdly, he believes in doing the right thing, in alignment with one’s values and integrity. Lastly, risks can be turned into opportunities by challenging the business-as-usual perspective and going against the grain if necessary.