Depopulation and the Threat of Demographic Disaster

Without access to quality education, especially vocational education, the demographic bonus is at risk of being missed. The problem depopulation not only affects Japan, South Korea and Singapore, but also China. Have these symptoms also spread to Indonesia? Japan is a prosperous and advanced country with a culture of hard work, discipline, and admirable ethics. Its industries are advanced, and the per capita income of its citizens is high. The education and healthcare services offered by the country are also good. As a result, the life expectancy of its citizens is higher compared to most other countries. In Japan, it is very common to find elderly citizens who are still healthy. In terms of demographics, the number of elderly citizens is quite large. Therefore, the national age of Japanese citizens is increasing.

Diving into the Presidential Candidate's Science and Technology Vision

Since the Soeharto era until today we have not been able to produce fully domestically produced cars and motorbikes. The issue of social welfare, education, culture, information technology, health, labor, human resources, and inclusion became the topic of debate for the presidential candidates on February 4th. What is the position of iptek (science and technology) in this debate? We can see that the science and technology material was only one small point inserted in the last debate session, and it was only limited to information technology (IT). This illustrates that science and technology is not considered an important issue worthy of being debated by presidential candidates in the presidential election contestation.

Tug of War on Excise on Sweetened Drinks

The postponement of the imposition of MBDK excise rates certainly disappoints health practitioners. Even though the plan to impose excise on MBDK is a progressive policy, it is believed that it will be effective in controlling the consumption of sweet drinks. Suddenly the government again postponed the implementation of excise on sweetened drinks in packaging or MBDK. The policy intended to control the increase in the number of people suffering from obesity and diabetes has been postponed until next year. That is, if it is not postponed again. Actually, through Presidential Regulation Number 130 of 2022 regarding the Details of the State Budget for the 2023 Fiscal Year, President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) has instructed the Ministry of Finance to implement excise taxes on MBDK products starting this year.

The Nobel Prize and Our Minimal Research Budget

The complaints of our academics and researchers are that they are often bothered with administrative matters rather than the substance of their research. Recently the winners of the 2023 Nobel prize were announced. Jon Fosse won the Nobel for literature; Katalin Kariko and Drew Weissman for medicine; Pierre Agostini, Ferenc Krausz, and Anne L’Huillier for physics; Moungi G Bawendi, Louis E Brus, and Alexei I Ekimov for chemistry; and Narges Mohammadi for peace. The announcement of this year's Nobel Prize coincides with the news of the failure of the Indonesian badminton team at the Asian Games in Hangzhou. This nationally beloved sports team has been unable to win even a single medal, not even bronze.

Towards Quality Generation 2045

The demographic bonus is an important capital for Indonesia to become a developed country in 2045. However, the threat of climate change, as well as geopolitical problems, need attention so that the dream of becoming a developed country can be realized. This August, we are once again commemorating the independence of our country proclaimed by Soekarno and Mohammad Hatta in 1945. What have we achieved at the age of 78? A number of data can be disclosed, both those that have been achieved and those that have not yet been achieved. Usually, in points that have failed or not succeeded yet, we will justify it by saying, "we will make it a lesson". However, there is something no less important than evaluating what has happened, which is what we intend to target when we reach the age of 100 later?