Covid-19 in Indonesia; How It Sparks Additional Battles

Artwork by Alessandro Mulya

I am 23 years old; this has been my first pandemic. Knowing fully well that it took the world ( including me ) by surprise, Covid-19 itself has been a national crisis, cities lockdown, conspiracy theories, and a very sad events that follow; thousands passed away or still in quarantine, some lose their jobs and some lose their health, and many others that causes this chain reaction. I know best that the only way we can through it, is by holding our hands together, trusting each other, and stay strong during the process. But, in the wake of it all, that’s not what entirely happened…

During the early stages of this virus, Indonesia has been less of being cautious and more of being opportunistic. Billions of rupiah goes unto the marketing and promotional adverts for tourism — I remember this being a very bad move, where the money could’ve been spent on supporting lockdown early on. Many ministries, and especially the health ministry, denied the reasons for using masks in public places, saying soothing, empty statements that Indonesia’s immune to Covid-19 because we eat certain foods or wear certain necklaces.

During the later stages of this virus, it has been taken a lot more seriously. But the government keep on moving the very wheel of economy — but knowing that it will not touch the heart of the erratic population, they implemented precautions. Masks were to be worn every time, keep your distance with others, don’t touch each other and don’t shake hands. You know, the usual stuff. The thing is, some people didn’t believe in such things. They didn’t believe in the virus, and reject the whole process and dismiss it as “conspiracy by Bill Gates”, “It has 99% success rate”, to “China just wants to mass genocide the whole world”.

Now, this battle of who believes and who doesn’t, the government incapability to see this early on and which ministry should be punished, what should the corporates do and what should the people do, spectrum of opinions from the doctors and nurses on the front line and general population in-between ( not going to list all of their background here ), is a lot of battles indeed.

I’m trying to be as objective as I can, by not taking any sides here. Judging the battles above, it is clear that this pandemic change everything — from sociocultural aspects to how business operates, this event is seen and felt on a global scale. Remarks about how such things could have happened have transitioned into how should we live with it now. First time wearing a mask, a lot of people complained of being suffocated. Six months later, everybody just starts to live with it — and as such, we have fought a hard battle indeed.

It was not easy, it was never easy, to change your life in everyday basis. Changes were never supposed to be easy in the first place. And struggles creates battles that we never knew was even there in the first place. The circles of news of who catches the virus become less apparent on the TV and more apparent on your WhatsApp group. The statistics didn’t bother people here anymore, some restrictions got lifted, and changes were to be made again. But life goes on, I think we can make it hard on ourselves or make the best out of it.

With every dark tunnel, comes a faint light at the end of it. Alas, the vaccine is being developed. By the time this article is published, either the vaccine is done being mass produced or has already bought — by countries or companies or individuals or all three of them. And I have hope, faith, and beliefs that this all will come unto an end. Sure, there are evil deeds done by greedy people — I remember once, online sellers sold masks as highly as hundreds of thousands of dollars for a dozen. They eventually never sold any. And that alone makes me think that we are better than all of the battles. That we persevere, facing our adversities head on and tackle them hard to the ground. Like we always do.

It really puts things into perspective about life, about living, and more importantly, about life battles that you lived through.

This pandemic has personally taught me many things. Never before in my life that I’ve seen such things have happened on such a global scale. It really puts things into perspective about life, about living, and more importantly, about life battles that you lived through. I hope with all being said and done, we can come out from these times as stronger person — I sincerely hope that. And knowing tough times ahead, we all can once again, put aside our differences and holding hands, embracing our future.