Karapan Sapi, is an annual traditional event originally from Madura, East Java. It is such a bull racing tournament. It is usually held at the week-end within August to September, or ideally before or after the fasting month. Date back to the early begin, Karapan Sapi was existed before 15 Century. The championship starts from the district level to the regency level and moving forward to the level of residence. Finally, the final will be held on September or October in the city of Pamekasan to compete for the President Cup.

Looking at the background, bulls are not animal type for racing activities for they are not classified as fast runner animals. To some extent, expecting the bull to race may be similar to expecting bureaucracy to speed up the process of administration or to innovate. You might become crazy yourselves expecting bureaucracy to change. However, I do hope that this will not always be the case.

For “karapan” this can be solved by training the bull twice or three times a week, not more than that. The exercise was held around 3pm before dawn. It was said that a pair of healthy and strong bulls would cost IDR 4 millions per pair for their food and other maintenance. Moreover, they were also consuming some traditional herb and dozens of chicken eggs per days.

By the same way, could we expect public servants in the bureaucracy to perform well by providing a good salary, long hours of education and abundant time for training and exercise or even an excessive supervision every day? Remember, they are human with mind and soul; they also have families to be taken care of. Pouring budget to satisfy full of their needs would cost the national budget a lot more than IDR 4,000,000 a week (a monthly pension fund received by the Indonesian retired general who used to serve in the military). Moreover, how much funds should be allocated for public servants that would be enough to make them perform better? Everyone may guess.

Consequently, the first important thing in reforming bureaucracy is to touch public servants heart, motivate them and give them trust to develop better system in the current world with its great volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity. In addition, unleash the bureaucratic laws and regulations that limit them to innovate.

Not to mention, there are some secret information. In order to make the bulls running as fast as they can, their tails were tied with nails and added with the chili and ginger. The jockey’s whip was also equipped with nails. It seems so sadistic here, but that was the game and the culture. The more they get hurt, the more the bulls run faster and faster.

Oh my God, should we use such kind of sadistic ways to make public servants to move faster for reform? As citizens, sometimes we ended up by thinking like the “Karapan” audience. We wanted to get good entertainment by expecting public servants to innovate, develop good infrastructures for better development. In fact, we forgot that the “bull” and the jockey had been long-suffering for a decent treatment due to the very low salaries, poor education/training and even low-level of honor and dignity. The public sector system and their people had been easily infected by corruption and dirty politics. Hopefully, there are still many of us who want to strive for the reform, particularly in developing more strategic leaders to induce innovation in the bureaucracy.

May God bless the public servants and the Indonesian bureaucracy reform agenda!

(http://eastjava.com/blog/2010/10/12/karapan-sapi- madura/astjava.com/blog/2010/10/12/karapan-sapi- madura/)