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Indonesia Student Movement News

Govt should be open, says Cook
Student massacre will spur protest against Suharto
Passions run high across barricades
Chinese in ordeal by fire
Chiefs admit rubber bullets can kill
Suharto unlikely to give up power yet
Suharto cuts short state visit
'We must respond to students' demands'
Show restraint, US urges Indonesia
Suddenly, Suharto is no longer beyond questions

The Nation (May 15, 1998)
Govt should be open, says Cook
LONDON -- British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook said yesterday that
Indonesia was paying the price for ignoring his warnings last year that
civil liberties were critical to economic success. 
Cook, speaking to BBC radio, also stressed once again that Britain's new
Labour government had refused to sell Indonesia equipment that could be
used for internal repression. 
Cook said what was happening in Indonesia, where mobs have rampaged
through Jakarta for three days, underscored the importance of an open
government for a flourishing economy. 
''In Jakarta last August I said that civil liberty and open governments
were not the enemies of economic success. Nowadays they are conditions for
it,'' said Cook, who has vowed to make Britain's foreign policy more
ethically based. 
''Sadly what is currently happening in Indonesia actually underlines how
true that is and how tragic it is that the government of Indonesia have
not grasped that ... yet,'' he said. 
At least 21 people have been killed in the capital this week as protests
against President Suharto turned violent. 
Cook said that although some British equipment -- such as the water
cannons -- had been used to suppress riots in Indonesia, none of it had
been exported since the Labour government took power. 
''Sadly it does appear to be the case that some of the equipment used in
those riots are from Britain,'' he said. 
''They would, of course, not have been sold under the new criteria which
we brought in and under which we have refused seven applications from
Indonesia very much for the type of equipment that the previous government
did sell,'' he said. 
''We made a very clear distinction between legitimate defence exports for
self-defence which could not be used for internal repression and
equipment, such as equipment sold by the last government like the water
cannons, which can be.'' 
Human rights groups have heavily criticised Cook for continuing to allow
Indonesia to buy a wide range of military and defence equipment. 
Meanwhile, employees of a west Jakarta bank branch threw bundles of bills
at a mob to prevent looters from attacking the bank, a report said
Bank Bali employees grabbed 10,000, 20,000 and 50,000 rupiah notes and
hurled them at thousands of people who threatened to besiege the bank, the
Antara news agency reported. 
The bank and outside instant teller machines were only lightly guarded and
employees had no choice but to sacrifice cash to save the bank. 
Elsewhere in the city, branches of the Bank Central Asia, which is owned
by the Salim group controlled by the Chinese billionaire Liem Sioe Liong
were burned and looted. 
Looting and burning occurred in all five districts of the capital
yesterday, in the the third day of violence which has left 12 people dead. 

The Nation (May 15, 1998)
Editorial & Opinion 
What Others Say/Student massacre will spur protest against Suharto
The death of six students at the hands of unidentified gunmen during a
demonstration at Trisakti University in West Jakarta on Tuesday is a
national tragedy. Those who sprayed bullets on the mass of innocent and
unarmed young people deserve world condemnation. The authorities should
quickly investigate the incident and bring the guilty parties to justice. 
At this point, it is difficult to point a finger at any one group for the
shootings. It would be shocking if members of the Armed Forces (Abri),
which handles student demonstrations, were found to be at fault because
the military has a manual stipulating that shooting demonstrators is a
last resort and, if found necessary, should be carried out to immobilise
rather than to kill. Another possibility could be that certain individuals
have decided to take advantage of the current struggle for reform to
create instability. 
In light of the unclear situation, we welcome the establishment of an Abri
fact-finding team to uncover the facts of the tragedy. We sincerely hope
the team will work objectively and transparently -- with a public
announcement of the results. It is only in this way that the authorities
can restore a sense of peace and calm to the hearts and minds of the
Yesterday's emotional public reaction over the Trisakti bloodbath shows
that patience has its limits. On the other hand, a failure of the team to
satisfactorily investigate the incident would heighten public suspicion.
This would, of course, be the last thing anyone would wish to see because
it would create worse tension between those demonstrating for reform and
the military, whose job it is to keep the protests peaceful. 
The authorities should also take into consideration the strong reaction
from the international community against the tragedy. This reaction may
not only be expressed verbally but could also take the form of financial
and economic steps -- a response this nation could ill afford during this
time of economic turmoil. 
Our history has taught us that the fall of martyrs in any national cause
has never deterred activists from continuing their struggle. Instead, such
instances often bolster a cause. 
Jakarta Post 
What Others Say-2/Stepping down 
Relinquishing power is rarely easy and the longer a ruler has been in
office, the more difficult it becomes. After three decades in authority
over the world's fourth most populous nation, President Suharto has shown
himself to be in no mood to step down. The prospect of an extension of the
president's rule with no end in sight appears to be one motivating force
in the demonstrations which have been met with tear gas and bullets this
Since the current regime has held out no prospect of change, those who
want the country to move forward politically feel the only recourse they
have is to take to the streets. So far, despite one abortive attempt at
talks with student leaders, the security forces know only one way to
respond -- with violence. 
As things stand today, there is no realistic alternative to Suharto. That
is Indonesia's great weakness. So long as the army stays loyal and he is
willing to use the repressive apparatus at his disposal to the full, the
president may believe he can hang on through the turmoil. But, by doing
so, he would condemn his country and its people to an even more perilous
Suharto, and Suharto alone, can offer what is so badly needed -- a
succession mechanism. This would not consist of him stepping down this
month, or even this year. It would mean working out with the various
national groups a means by which power could be transferred to somebody
who could give the country a new start, with the degree of consensus
support that such an undertaking would require. That would mean something
more than the shallow loyalty parade at the 1,000-member People's
Consultative Assembly. 
South China Morning Post 
Hong Kong

The Nation (May 15, 1998)
Editorial & Opinion 
Passions run high across barricades
Clashes between Indonesian students and police are likely to escalate,The
Nation's Andreas Harsono writes from Jakarta. 
After washing his face and hands, Lt Dadang Rusmana, the head of the
police intelligence unit in Bogor, quietly slipped into the mosque to say
his Friday prayers last week. 
He mumbled some prayers when unexpectedly he heard a quarrel taking place
outside the mosque. The 43-year-old officer went out and saw more than a
dozen angry students wildly beating and taunting an army captain, and
challenging him to go into the mosque. ''Spies are not supposed to go into
this holy place,'' cried an attacker. 
Dadang instantly tried to stop the beating and shouted that he was an
officer himself. But instead of calming down the mob, he provoked the
students further. 
He was struck in the back of the head with a stone. Bleeding profusely he
collapsed. Both Dadang and the intelligence officer were rushed to a
hospital in Bogor, a small town about 80 kilometres south of Jakarta.
Dadang died the next day. His wife and two children lost their bread
Dadang was the first victim among Indonesia's 800,000 security officers
whose main day-to-day duties have become consumed with suppressing student
demonstrations. Many foreign diplomats and political analysts said they
believed he will not be the only one. 
The general image of security officers here is of fierce and
unprofessional personnel who beat street protesters, and kidnap and
torture activists. Even traffic police are widely known to be corrupt law
enforcers who often extort money from motorists. 
''It's more like a reaction toward the harsh actions of the security
forces,'' said human rights worker Hendardi of the Indonesian Legal Aid
Association, adding that hundreds, if not thousands, of students have been
hospitalised because of police brutality. 
Not more than 24 hours before the Bogor attack, the police beat a
protester to death in the ancient Javanese city of Yogyakarta, about 350
kilometres east of Jakarta, while he was trying to escape a tear gas
Actually Moses Gatutkaca was not involved in the protest against President
Suharto's 32-year rule. He was about to have his dinner when he became
caught in a melee between students and the police. Some police officers
approached him thinking he was a student. 
''The government is very cruel. I hope this has meaning,'' said a
neighbour attending Gatutkaca's funeral, adding that police killed him
with blows to the head from their rifle butts. 
As if in response to the killing of Dadang, the Jakarta police on Tuesday
opened fire on protesting students at the Trisakti University and killed
four after a mob had broken out of the campus and blockaded a main
Hendardi said the violence began when the military, using their usual
pattern, chose to handle protests with force rather than accommodating the
requests of the students. ''They think they can discourage the protesters
with their show of force but they are deadly wrong,'' he said. 
Violence only breeds violence. Indonesian students, whose organisations
have been controlled by the Suharto government since 1978, began to
establish a national network and even to set up own their para-military
Students in the IKIP Jakarta Teachers College, for instance, asked
would-be sport instructors to organise a unit which guards their campus,
how to produce molotov cocktails and prepare used tires for burning during
The students also set up their own Xerox-copy newspapers which are devoted
exclusively to covering the protests and the agenda for reform. In Jakarta
they have a daily called ''Bergerak!'' which literally means ''Moving''.
In Yogyakarta they have ''Gugat'' which translates as ''Demand''. Arie
Sujito of the Institute for Research and Empowerment in Yogyakarta said
the economic crisis, which has caused the rupiah to lose about 70 per cent
of its value since last year, had ''accelerated'' the student movement. 
The 25-year-old Sujito, who is closely related to Yogyakarta student
leaders, said the crisis had also radicalised the students, adding they as
well as their lecturers had even set up a platform to join opposition
leaders like Amien Rais and Megawati Sukarnoputri. 
Their aim is simple. They want to get rid of Suharto who had openly told
his soldiers to take ''firm action'' against the students. 
The Jakarta shooting is very likely to spark a nationwide protest and even
to prompt students to become more hostile towards intelligence officers
who are widely seen here to be behind a wave of kidnappings and torture. 
As 22-year-old Gede Mahendra, the chief protest coordinator from the
Indonesian University, put it: ''After 30 years, we are bored with the old
president and want a new one.''

Hongkon Standard (May 15, 1998)
Chinese in ordeal by fire

PROTESTS against President Suharto have targeted Indonesia's wealthy but
vulnerable Chinese community as riots turned into an uprising of the urban
Thousands of people went on a looting spree across Jakarta yesterday.
Heavy black smoke rose from scores of burning buildings _ from business
blocks to tiny family stores. 
Residents said mobs were checking cars, asking passengers to step out if
they were Chinese and setting the vehicles on fire. 
In wide swathes of the city, shops and businesses owned by Chinese were
looted and torched. 
Residents said some of the rioters had chanted ``Let's kill the Chinese .
 . . let's wipe out the Chinese''. 
Frightened Chinese set up squads to protect their property. Squads armed
with sticks and wearing motorcycle helmets guarded access to
Chinese-majority areas. 
The central Jakarta house of Indonesia's wealthiest man, Liem Sioe Liong,
was burned by the mob. There was no indication of whether Mr Liem, who
heads the Salim conglomerate, was in the house. 
Ethnic Chinese form only 4 per cent of its 200 million people but control
most of its commerce. 
``In a riot you see anger, you see jealousy over economic inequality and
economic disparity,'' said Hermawan Sulistyo, an analyst with the
Indonesian Institute of Sciences. 
``Chinese in places like central Jakarta are known as wealthy. To me it
seems logical that people from lower classes target their focus on people
like this. There is an element of racism, but it's more economic jealousy.
They are against the wealthy _ that's it.'' 
But others said while that was one factor, the popular perception that the
Chinese backed President Suharto also fuelled rage. Some of his closest
allies have been Chinese businessmen. 
For the first time since he took power in the 1960s, Mr Suharto appointed
an ethnic Chinese _ Mohamad ``Bob'' Hasan _ to his cabinet in March.
Chosen as trade minister, he is an old golfing friend of the president
with control of the timber and plywood trade. They became friends when it
was Colonel Suharto. 
Aside from Chinese targets, looters were also close to the president's
home yesterday. Thousands of them closed on the Cikini railway station
area, which borders the upper class Menteng where Mr Suharto has his
residence, and looted a department store. There were no police or troops
in sight. 
``I think this is a revolution,'' said engineering student Harling Kambey,
30, as he watched vehicles burn. ``Suharto and his family _ his sons and
daughters _ must leave.'' - Agencies 

South China Morning Post 
Friday May 15 1998

Indonesia on the brink 
Chiefs admit rubber bullets can kill 

GREG TORODE in Jakarta 
Indonesian military and police chiefs yesterday admitted their rubber
bullets could be fatal from 50 metres. 
But they declined to take responsibility for the killings of students and
Minister of Defence General Wiranto and police chief Major General Siafrie
Sjamsoeddin have sent condolences to the families of students killed when
troops opened fire into Trisakti University on Tuesday night - the
catalyst for the violence that by last night threatened to engulf the
entire city. 
"We use blanks and rubber bullets. That's all," Major-General Siafrie told
reporters, later admitting that the rubber rounds could be fatal if used
at a "specific range" such as 25 or 50 metres. 
When asked whether the students killed were in this range, he said:
The remark was the closest yet to an admission of any official
Neither the police nor the army have ruled out the prospect of future
deaths but insist live rounds will not be used. 
Internal military and human rights officials' investigations are still
under way. 
The issue remains a topic of hot debate on tense university campuses
across the city and could hold the key to the students taking a wider role
in the violence over the next few days, diplomats believe. 
Students have an acknowledged right to protest on their campuses and anger
is building following claims those who died were shot within the grounds. 
The shooting of the students was the first such action taken against them
since protests against President Suharto started to intensify earlier this
year. Despite having no formal leader or organising body, students had
been at the forefront of a growing movement of peaceful demonstration - a
movement now in tatters as large parts of Jakarta fell to mob rule. 
Opposition politicians and ordinary workers had been looking to the
students to take a lead in any burgeoning "People Power" movement. 
Their role is further complicated by the fact that there is no clear legal
way to formally depose the President before his new five-year term expires
in 2003. 
Demonstrations continued on campuses around the country yesterday amid
spiralling calls for a general student strike. 
At the University of Indonesia, crack Marine troops - the most popular of
the security forces - had reportedly starting backing the students and had
formed a protective ring around them to stop army and police units moving
Human rights officials warned that as many as 20 students were still
missing since the violence on Tuesday night. 
It is feared some are being detained - and possibly tortured - in secret
jails controlled by the military intelligence service.

South China Morning Post 

Friday May 15 1998

Indonesia on the brink 
Suharto unlikely to give up power yet 

ANALYSIS by Ian MacKenzie of Reuters 
President Suharto's statement that he will give up power if Indonesians no
longer trust him does not mean he is about to quit, analysts say. 
Mr Suharto was quoted as saying at a summit in Egypt that he would not use
force to remain in office. 
But he said he would only accept change by constitutional means, and
analysts said this indicated he was in no hurry to go. They noted
President Suharto had regularly said before previous re-elections that he
would go if the people did not want him. 
"Anybody who wants to do it through unconstitutional means, then he
betrays Pancasila [the state ideology] and the 1945 constitution," the
President was quoted as saying. A senior Asian diplomat said: "It is a
qualified and ambiguous statement. He didn't say he would step down on his
Analysts also said there was no indication the country's powerful military
was ready to desert the 76-year-old leader. 
Political and diplomatic analysts said President Suharto's reference to a
constitutional change of power suggested two possibilities: he could
remain in control until his term expired in 2003, or a full session of the
People's Consultative Assembly might be called to deal with the issue. 
The assembly, a largely hand-picked 1,000-member body, re-elected Mr
Suharto for a seventh five-year term in March. 
Another major question was who might replace Mr Suharto if he was to go. 
"The only likely format is a kind of loose political alliance, involving a
kind of presidium of several people," said Hermawan Sulistyo, of the
Indonesian Institute of Sciences. 
The chairman of the influential Association of Indonesian Muslim
Intellectuals said it would be "wiser" for Mr Suharto to transfer power to
the Vice-President, "then there would be a greater possibility for changes
to be made peacefully". 
Vice-President Bacharuddin Habibie formerly headed the association. 
Another possibility would be armed forces chief General Wiranto, 51, who
has put himself forward as a voice of reason. But he is regarded as loyal
to Mr Suharto, who appointed him in February. 
Military sources said there was no indication of the armed forces
withdrawing support for the President, although some soldiers were seen
raising their fists with protesters in Jakarta yesterday and one source
said there was "growing discussion on what's going on".

The Straits Time
MAY 14 1998 
Suharto cuts short state visit 

JAKARTA -- President Suharto decided yesterday to cut short a state visit
to Egypt as the Indonesian capital was shaken by protests, riots, looting
and gunfire. 
Egyptian officials said Mr Suharto would leave Cairo today, a day earlier
than planned, because of the violence in Jakarta. 
The Indonesian leader expressed regret for the deaths of six students shot
by security forces on Tuesday at Jakarta's Trisakti University, and urged
citizens to work together to overcome the country's economic crisis. 
His regrets were relayed in a statement read by Vice-President B. J.
Habibie in Jakarta, who refused to take questions from reporters. 
Meanwhile, Armed Forces Chief Wiranto warned yesterday of more violence if
student protests did not cool off. 
"If the students keep on with their protests in this way, I'm very afraid
that the number of victims could grow," he said on state TV. 
However, he is reported to have said that he would make sure political
reforms would be included on the national agenda. 
During yesterday's disturbances here, four people were reported killed, as
mourning for the six who died on Tuesday triggered running battles between
angry mobs and riot police. 
The mobs pelted police with rocks outside Trisakti University during the
clashes. As troops replied with tear gas and volleys of rubber bullets,
witnesses said at least one man was killed. 
An AP cameraman said he saw a man running in front of him die after being
hit by a bullet, which sent shrapnel into his left shoulder. 
Reports said the three others killed were demonstrators, who were crushed
by a military truck they were attempting to turn over. 
As black fumes spiralled into the sky from several localities, witnesses
said the mobs -- made up largely of high school students, after their
older colleagues returned to the campus following a brief foray onto the
streets -- torched three trucks, including a petroleum truck, a billiard
hall and several kiosks below a major highway. 
According to an AFP reporter, over 75 blocks of shops with apartments
above them, along the Daan Mogot Avenue west of Trisakti, were damaged
badly or burned and looted by mobs. 
Helicopters could be heard buzzing across the city and three loads of
troops were lowered onto the university's roof. Scores of security forces
were also seen patrolling the riot-torn areas. 
The trouble died down at dusk, but mobs rampaged through a mixed
commercial and residential district in west Jakarta, about 5 km away, in
some of the worst street violence to hit the capital since July 1996. 
The mobs looted and burned mainly Chinese-owned shops. Smoke filled the
air and flames lit the surroundings, as several shops in a two-storey
commercial row burned in the Pangeran Tubagus Angke area. 
Disturbances also rocked north Jakarta and a business district, where
police fired warning shots and tear gas to disperse thousands of people
protesting against the deaths of the six students and higher fuel prices
announced last week. 
There was also trouble in the central Java city of Yogyakarta and the west
Java city of Bogor. 
The day began with opposition figures Amien Rais and Megawati Sukarnoputri
telling the Trisakti University crowd to keep up their struggle for
political reforms, but peacefully. 
Meanwhile, Indonesia's top economics minister Ginandjar Kartasasmita said
in Tokyo yesterday that Jakarta must respond somehow to students' demands.
But he did not specify what he thought the government should do to
respond. Wire Agencies. 

MAY 14 1998 
'We must respond to students' demands' 

Economic minister Ginandjar says that the government cannot pretend that
nothing has happened but gives no concrete solutions to the problem 
TOKYO -- Indonesia's top economics minister Ginandjar Kartasasmita said
yesterday that Jakarta must respond somehow to the demands of students
whose protests have shaken the nation. 
But Mr Ginandjar, in an interview with Reuters Television at the end of a
Tokyo visit, declined to specify what he thinks the government should do
to respond to the demonstrations, in which at least six people have been
"Definitely we have to respond to the situation," he said. "We cannot just
pretend that nothing's happened in the past few days." 
The response should include "probably some more initiatives from the
government, probably some more initiatives from Parliament." 
He declined to speculate on how President Suharto might respond to the
demonstrations when he returns from a developing nation summit in Egypt. 
The protesters have demanded an end to Mr Suharto's 32-year rule. 
"We have some problems with credibility and some problems with public
relations," Mr Ginandjar said. "We need to improve this and we need to
portray the right image of the government." 
He acknowledged that the recent "political developments" were contributing
to the plunge in the rupiah, and affecting the economy. 
He said social unrest had been gaining more attention in financial markets
"than the real progress on economic issues." 
But he asserted that economic factors would regain the focus of financial
markets eventually. 
Indonesian stock prices sank more than 8 per cent yesterday and the rupiah
slid below 10,000 to the US dollar on the deaths on Tuesday of six
students at a protest rally. 
The rupiah's fall, Mr Ginandjar acknowledged, would affect whether
Indonesia could meet economic targets set under a rescue plan agreed with
the International Monetary Fund. 
But he said Jakarta had no plans "for the time being" to raise interest
rates, he said. 
He expressed concern that a tightening could worsen the real economy while
not solving the problem of rupiah weakness. 
He insisted that the government would adhere strictly to the IMF economic
reform agreements. 
But, as for the removal of subsidies for such items as fuel and
commodities, he said, "I do not foreclose the possibility of negotiating
with the IMF to postpone it," adding that he thought the world body would
understand if Jakarta wanted to re-open the discussions. 
The removal of fuel subsidies last week sparked three days of fierce riots
in the Sumatran city of Medan. 
Mr Ginandjar said Japanese cabinet ministers he met earlier yesterday
"expressed their concerns about the situation in Indonesia," but that he
had chiefly discussed Indonesia's economic reform effort with them. 
He had separate meetings with Foreign Minister Keizo Obuchi, Trade
Minister Mitsuo Horiuchi and Parliamentary Vice-Foreign Minister Masahiko

 		MAY 14 1998 
Show restraint, US urges Indonesia 

Secretary of State calls on security forces and students to take steps to
break the emerging cycle of violence 
WASHINGTON -- United States Secretary of State Madeleine Albright has
deplored the violence in Indonesia. 
She called on the security forces and the students to take steps "to break
the cycle of violence". In a statement released here on Tuesday, she said:
"The US deplores the killings which have taken place as Indonesian
security forces confronted demonstrators. 
"We strongly urge the security forces to show restraint and refrain from
violence when facing protesters. 
"We repeat our call for students and the public to keep their
demonstrations peaceful." 
"Indonesia needs to break the cycle of violence which appears to be
She said that political reform in Indonesia could "only be achieved
through dialogue between the Indonesian government and its citizens". 
She was speaking a day after Indonesian security forces opened fire on
students in West Jakarta, leaving up to six people dead. 
Her comments followed her warning to Jakarta last weekend to respect human
rights and show restraint towards protesters seeking political reforms. 
In Canberra, Australian Deputy Prime Minister Tim Fischer yesterday urged
Indonesia to avoid violence in quelling protests. 
"I urge the Indonesian government to use a great deal of care and
caution," he told a business breakfast. 
In London, human-rights group Amnesty International yesterday urged the
Indonesian armed forces to show restraint and condemned the killings as
showing "contempt for life".AFP, Reuters, Bloomberg 

MAY 14 1998 
Suddenly, Suharto is no longer beyond questions 

YOGYAKARTA -- It is Saturday morning, and Ms Megadini Sakuntalaputri sits
beside her uncle's coffin, trying to stanch the blood still trickling from
his ears. 
Ms Sakuntalaputri, a 19-year-old psychology student, had expected to spend
the weekend preparing for a more joyous occasion: her great-grandmother's
84th birthday party. 
But instead, her family became profoundly embroiled in the riots that have
shaken this leafy college city almost daily: Late on Friday, her uncle,
Mozes Gatutkaca, was allegedly clubbed to death by police. 
Ms Sakuntalaputri prays aloud, thanking God for her great-grandmother's
But another emphasises death: "This is full murder," says Ms Tami
Koestomo, a relative of Mr. Gatutkaca, in a report in the Asian Wall
Street Journal yesterday. "You can print that." 
As the increasingly deadly effects of economic and political crisis affect
a widening swath of Indonesia's population, frustration is moving off the
campuses and into middle-class homes. 
Some express it with a new willingness to ridicule President Suharto;
others favour outspoken anger, and even action. 
It is an important shift, because the middle class could be considered to
have the most to lose from any prolonged upheaval -- jobs, homes, cars. 
And it is a far cry from public attitudes mere weeks ago. Where community
leaders once talked of Mr. Suharto only with respect, or in hushed tones,
many are now calling openly for him to step down. 
In recent demonstrations doctors and academics have even joined the


Yours sincerely,
Kyaw Zay Ya

"If you give a man a fish, he will have a meal. 
 If you teach him to fish, he will have a living. 
 If you are thinking a year ahead, sow a seed. 
 If you are thinking ten years ahead, plant a tree. 
 If you are thinking one hundred years ahead, educate the people. 
 By sowing a seed once, you will harvest once. 
 By planting a tree, you will harvest tenfold. 
 By educating the people, you will harvest one hundredfold."  (ANONYMOUS

("If it is not broken, don't fix it" leads to the worst situation.)