Hashtag ‘#Indonesia? Terserah!!’ takes the country’s social media by storm

Passengers wearing protective face masks sit on taped up benches to encourage social distancing amid the spread of coronavirus disease (Covid-19) outbreak at a train station in Jakarta, Indonesia. The majority of Indonesian netizens have hit out at those who are still not bothered about the PSBB that has been in force since March 15 to break the chain of transmission of the coronavirus. — Reuters

JAKARTA: “#Indonesia? Terserah!!!” ("#Indonesia? It is up to you!!!") is the top trending hashtag on Indonesian social media now and is a manifestation of disappointment at the attitude displayed by some Indonesians who are neglecting the large-scale social restrictions (Indonesian acronym PSBB) in force to curb the spread of Covid-19 in the sprawling country.

The hashtag is believed to have been started by healthcare staff on May 15, which was then taken to heart by netizens, and went on to take social media by storm.

Indonesia has recorded the highest number of Covid-19 deaths in South-East Asia, and according to official data provided by a government spokesman for the Covid-19 pandemic, Achmad Yurianto, as of May 25, there were 1,391 fatalities while the case tally rose to 22,750.

According to Ikatan Doktor Indonesia (IDI) de facto head, Daeng M. Faqih, as quoted by local media, 25 doctors died in the line of duty after being infected by Covid-19.

Currently, there are only about 6,000 lung specialists in Indonesia and with the upward trend in cases, it is certainly taking a heavy toll on healthcare workers, who are practically working non-stop since the first case surfaced in the republic on March 2.

The majority of netizens have hit out at those who are still not bothered about the PSBB that has been in force since March 15 to break the chain of transmission of the coronavirus.

Singer and musician Iwan Fals in his Instagram had this to say: “We must remain strong, we cannot surrender to the situation.”

Social media observers see “#Indonesia? Terserah!!” as not just a sarcastic admonishment of those not heeding the PSBB, but also as a criticism of the government for not following through on the PSBB enough.

“#Indonesia? Terserah!!” also got the attention of Central Java governor Ganjar Pranowo, who said that he hoped healthcare staff will remain strong and work hard for the people and country.

Jakarta governor Anies Baswedan, meanwhile, said in a statement that the majority of the city folk were abiding by the PSBB, which is due to end on June 4 and might be relaxed if there is a downtrend in the number of positive cases.

"If the number of cases does not decrease, the PSBB will be extended. What is important is looking after the interest of all and not just ourselves. Hopefully Jakarta can get back on its feet with the new protocols, then socio-economic activities can resume in the new normal,” he said.

There were no new Covid-19 deaths in Jakarta overnight, and the number of positive cases is also showing a downtrend.

However, it was not all praise, as some social media observers said that certain viral videos of people not observing the PSBB – posted on platforms like Twitter, Instagram and Facebook – were edited with footage from old videos and photographs, among them motorcyclists stuck in traffic jams which actually occurred during the severe floods that hit the capital early this year.

The “#Indonesia? Terserah!!" movement also generated flak against healthcare staff, with comments like “Always whining, isn't that what you are paid for. You should be carrying out your duties with sincerity.”

The comment is believed to have been posted by a Gojek motorbike hailing rider, whose livelihood had been severely impacted by the PSBB. In Jakarta alone, more than 2.8 million people have lost their jobs because of the PSBB which limits socio-economic activities while more that two million daily wage earners are finding it tough to support their families.

Indonesian president Joko Widodo in a statement issued by the President's Secretariat yesterday said the police and army have been instructed "to discipline society on health protocols” when in public places.

"TNI (Indonesian Armed Forces) and Polri (police) pesonnel will be deployed to public hot spots to keep reminding the people to embrace these protocols," said Jokowi. – Bernama

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