Thursday, May 20, 2010


This month is a census month up and down Indonesia. On telly you see ads promoting it, and urging people to participate. So I thought with such fanfare it would be a hugely detailed census.

Today a fieldworker came by and did her thing.

She asked who live in this house, their names, birth data, last education, employment, marital status and where they were back in May 2005, if you are/were married she asked how many kids do you have and where they are now. She, then, accesses the house: what kind of floor, how big, how do you prepare your meal (gas, electric, etc), what kind of drink water do you have, was there any deceased in 2009 in the house and that's about it.

While she was filling the form with her pencil, I peeked in.

There are plenty things she didnt ask me but was supposed to get information of. She just assumed that since she saw the Koran, and I said mom is a moslem, every one in the house was moslem. I found it interesting. There are people with different religion living under the same roof in this country, she didnt even account that possibility. If all fieldworker did the same thing, no wonder moslems are more than 80% in this country according to the previous surveys.

Then the health section was left blank. There were some question about eyes problems, some movement problems, etc. Since she didnt meet mom, how could she be sure that mom didnt suffer any of those problems without asking me anything. I need prescription glasses, and she didnt put anything on my part of that survey.

When I asked how come it was so little to be asked, she said that was her briefing, just basic questions. She was told that if someone living in this city just for his work, he will get assessed at his hometown. If no one is home, she have to go back to that place on other time.

Oh well.. it's just a census.


colsojn said...

Great. A multi-million project being unprofessionally and carelessly done. If the data are inaccurate, policies which will be possibly based on it will be off target. Too bad.

However, on second thought..

In the exciting early seventies we, on the pretext of fighting a too nosy government trying to invade our privacy,were successfully fighting the census which had been planned. So we would have been happy with a sloppy execution of any kind of data gathering by authorities.

(By now we, the citizens, are so closely monitored by both government and commercial organizations, no census is needed any more.

triesti said...

I agree with you, especially about the commercial organization. I get this feeling google knows me more than some of my friends & family.