Chinese Indonesian to run for regent

Chinese Indonesian to run for regent
The Hok Hiong (rear) poses with his grandchildren for a photograph at his residence in Ambarawa, Semarang, Central Java, on Friday. Hok, an Indonesian with Chinese ancestry, wants to contest the regent post in Semarang regency.

The story of Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama's success in attaining first the posts of Bangka Belitung regent and now Jakarta governor seems to have inspired a man of Chinese descent from Ambarawa, Semarang regency, Central Java.

The Hok Hiong, or Pak Hok as he is called in his village, plans to apply for the Semarang regent's position.

"I want to show the cadres and public that the PDI-P does have a figure capable of leading the regency. That's why I took the form to apply for the post," said The Hok, referring to the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle.

In his densely populated village, Hok is known as a Bangkok cock breeder. An alumnus of Bakti Alam senior high school in Ambarawa, Hok was a public transportation driver, used-car trader and intercity travel agent before making his way into the political arena.

He said he first entered politics in 1997, joining the PDI-P. As a Chinese Indonesian, he said, he was laughed at for entering the political world at that time.

"Some told me my party could never win. But, I remained silent. What mattered was to keep moving," he told The Jakarta Post at his house on Thursday.

Hok said he then built a PDI-P coordination post (posko) on the roadside in front of his house, together with the party's supporters. It was the first posko ever built in the area.

"We were in such high spirits. I myself never thought of entering the party's executive, much less of becoming a councilor. But in the end I was given full support, and I was elected as Semarang regency councilor in the 1999 election," he said.

The PDI-P won 15 seats on the regency legislative council in 1999. The figure decreased to eight seats in 2004, increased to 11 in 2009 and further increased to 12 in 2014.

Hok's current position in the PDI-P's Semarang branch is vice chairman overseeing politics and honour.

He said he was currently weighing his own potential and supporters while considering the possibility of forming a coalition with other political parties.

"Everything has to be well calculated. Like Chinese general Sun Tzu, I am preparing my war strategy," laughed the father of four and grandfather of seven.

Whether he would complete the application form for the regentship, he said, depended on the PDI-P's Central Java provincial branch.

"I am also waiting for the people's response. Everything has to be conducted according to the party's rules. Besides, the final decision will be made by the central executive board. Whatever they decide, I will accept," he said.

Hok said he realised that being in a political party, he could not let himself feel hurt or disappointed. Everything has its own rule, he said.

"I won't get disappointed and then apply through another party. As a party cadre I obey what the party decides," said the husband of Siti Aminah.

As a councilor, Hok is known for his critical remarks; he would not hesitate to comment against the mainstream.

"As a member of the legislative council I work with my mouth. I have no burden," he said.

Registration for the Semarang regent's position will be opened on Feb. 26 at the Regional General Elections Commission (KPUD) office.

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