When the news came through to Indonesia that I was selected as an Awardee for Government Service for the year 1979 by the Board of Trustees of the Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation, there came a stream of cables and flowers from well-wishers assuring me of their pride that an Indonesian had been selected. This illustrates how highly this Award is valued by my fellow countrymen. This is why I would like to express my deepest gratitude to the Board of Trustees.
From this forum I would also like to pay homage to your national hero, Dr. Jose P. Rizal of this great republic, and the late President Ramon Magsaysay in whose memory this Foundation was created.
As for the honor bestowed on me, I feel that I have done nothing in particular, other than doing my duty and country as a servant to my government and country.
Faced by the urgent problem of bringing family planning to the millions in East Java in the shortest time possible, I came to the conclusion that I needed thousands and thousands of communicators, informers, and educators. This could only be achieved by mobilizing every potential source who could communicate, inform and educate the people. The best communicators, informers and educators are the members of the village community themselves, whom the people readily believe. These people have the same cultural background, speak the same tongue, have the same traditions and the same way of thinking. After a brief training they are able to convey the message. The group of people fit for this work are the village chief and his assistants, religious leaders and their followers and other influential people in the community.
Everybody wishes to be happy and prosperous in this world and in the world hereafter. The village chief and his assistants are guiding the people to worldly prosperity, while the religious leaders are guiding them to happiness and heaven. That is the reason why the people believe them. If we get the support of these persons for the family planning cause, we have very powerful propagators for the idea. For my part I only reminded the people of our existing tradition: jer basuki mawa bea (no happiness without sacrifice) and gotong royong gugur gunung (work for mutual interest without expecting any remuneration).
A Javanese character trait is that when politely requested to help, it is difficult to refuse if there is any possibility of assisting. So, when we requested the village leaders to cooperate, the request was granted, and we got a powerful army of communicators, informers and educators. This led to acceptance of the family planning idea in East Java. Spread of information must go hand in hand with ample contraceptive services. It is due to the hard work and dedication of the government officers, doctors and midwives, voluntary workers of organizations, the armed forces and other layers of the Indonesian community that we succeeded. It is their confidence in the benefits of family planning that made our achievement possible.
On this, for me, happy occasion, I would like to salute the memory of my teacher, the late Dr. Soetomo, who taught me patriotism and the memory of the late Dr. Kodijat, Dr. Sjaiful Anwar and Dr. Soetopo, all of whom introduced me into the arts of public health. I would also like to remember my teachers in the School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University, and Dr. Soewardjono Soerjaningrat who gave me the opportunity to practice my ideas m East Java. And I would like to thank my wife and children, who have always stood beside and behind me, never demanding any luxuries during the difficult times of the struggle for independence, nor now during the period of Indonesian development.