Thursday, 13 September, 2012 | 20:03 WIB
Last Minute Adjustments
TEMPO Interactive, Jakarta:ONCE he begins to talk, it is difficult to get Basuki Tjahaja Purnama to stop. The tone of his voice gradually increases at times when he is on a roll. “Sorry, sometimes I tend to explode. I find it difficult to put on the brakes when I start to talk,” said Basuki, who is affectionately nicknamed Ahok. Basuki is the running mate for Joko Widodo or Jokowi, the man racing against incumbent Jakarta Governor Fauzi Bowo in the elections. The second round of the polls is scheduled for Sept. 20. Joko Widodo and Basuki had won the most number of votes during the July 11 elections, beating Fauzi Bowo and his running mate, Nachrowi Ramli, by far.
When Basuki visited Tempo, he admitted that having a “short fuse” could work against him in his efforts to secure more votes during the second round of elections. Basuki said that media tycoon Hashim Djodjohadikusumo knew of this well. This is why the Advisory Council for the Great Indonesia Movement (Gerindra), together with the Indonesian Democratic Party for Struggle (PDI-P) – both of which are backing Jokowi and Basuki – have advised Basuki to tone it down.
“I was asked to polish my public speaking skills with Erwin Parengkuan,” he said recently. Radio host Erwin Parengkuan agreed to become Ahok’s tutor in regard to public speaking. In fact, Joko Widodo himself should have received the same tutoring during the first round of election campaigns. However, the Solo Mayor never got a chance to attend the three-hour public speaking sessions held by Erwin at Jakarta’s MidPlaza InterContinental, a hotel owned by Hashim, due to Joko’s busy schedule of shuttling back and forth between Jakarta and Solo.
In the first session, Erwin requested Ahok to start to talk, as if he was delivering a speech. According to Erwin, Ahok is the kind of person who likes to explain matters completely, and that he at times tends to jump from one point to another - something that many could find difficult to digest. Ahok is also blunt. “A leader cannot speak like that. He must be able to hit at the points of the matter, but manage to convey it firmly and concisely.”
Erwin added that Jokowi, in contrast, does not need to improve his public speaking skills significantly, because he is able to speak calmly, and uses sentences that are easy to understand. His ndeso style, or “village speak”, is an advantage that makes people feel comfortable and even closer to him. Erwin’s suggestion for Jokowi was that he only needs to add in more specifics when he talks about a single issue. “This is so he can gain the trust of those in the middle to upper class. To show that Jokowi really knows about Jakarta,” he said.
The man working with Fauzi Bowo is Irfan Sudirman, director of communications consultancy firm Fastcomm. Better known as Ipang Wahid, nephew of the late former president Abdurrahman “Gus Dur” Wahid, Irfan’s reputation in social marketing has had him working with Fauzi Bowo to reshape people’s perceptions of the incumbent governor. Fauzi has been known to speak in a heated fashion and sometimes he does come off as a snob. “People sometimes perceive him as a fierce person because of his moustache. However, once you get to know him, he is quite nice to converse with,” Irfan said. Irfan’s job is to create a warmer, mellower image for Fauzi, and among the problems he faces is Fauzi’s intonation, and his facial expressions, which at times borders on Fauzi looking petulant.
Irfan has asked Fauzi to be more relaxed when he speaks, whether during speeches or when meeting with members of the public or the media. He brought in a speech expert and a neurolinguistic expert to assist Fauzi. Both have helped Fauzi control his speech vibrations and intonation when he speaks. Irfan said that his team had been working on Fauzi since the first round of elections. Fauzi even smiles more nowadays, and spends more times with Jakartans.
According to Widdi Aswindi, a member of Fauzi’s campaign success team, Fauzi refuses to give the impression that he is faking it. “Don’t fake it, it will make us seem as if we are in difficulty,” said Widdi, as he quoted Fauzi.
Bagja Hidayat, Widiarsi Agustina