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Jakarta Post

Jokowi's dramatic entrance to Asian Games ceremony becomes talk of town

  • News Desk

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Sun, August 19, 2018   /   04:57 pm
Jokowi's dramatic entrance to Asian Games ceremony becomes talk of town A man appearing to be President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo waves to the audience at the opening ceremony of Asian Games 2018 on Aug. 18 in Senayan, Central Jakarta. (Antara/Rosa Panggabean)

The opening ceremony of the 2018 Asian Games has received praise from Indonesians and visitors for its spectacular show in which a man who resembled President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo rode a Presidential Security Detail (Pasampres) motorcycle to enter the stadium on Saturday night in Senayan, Jakarta.

On his Instagram account, @jokowi, the President posed a playful question: 

“Who flew a Paspampres member’s motorcycle, swerved in traffic, made a stoppie and arrived on time at Gelora Bung Karno Stadium last night? Hehehe,” he wrote.

At the start of the ceremony on Saturday, a video showed Jokowi, wearing a full suit, get out of his car and take a black motorcycle owned by a member of the Paspampres because he was stuck in traffic on his way to the Gelora Bung Karno stadium.

The man who wore a full black helmet later jumped a ramp, maneuvered his way between cars and narrow alleyways and even did a stoppie as he almost crashed into a bajaj (three-wheeled motorized vehicle) before finally arriving on time at the stadium, waving to the audience.

Apparently inspired by the 2012 London Olympics opening ceremony, where an actor who resembled Queen Elizabeth II skydived out of a helicopter with Daniel Craig, the latest James Bond, Jokowi ostensibly tried to avoid the notorious Jakarta traffic to arrive on time at the ceremony by taking a Paspampres motorcycle to make a dramatic entrance at the stadium.

Many people praised Jokowi for making such an entrance to the stadium, calling him "cool" and "awesome". Some pointed out that Jokowi could not do all the stunts himself and likely had a stuntman do some of the tricks for him. Others attacked the stunt and accused it of being political. 

The ceremony's creative director, Wishnutama Kusubandio, denied allegations that it was politically motivated, saying he was the one who had the idea. "Jokowi is a fun guy, relaxed, so we discussed and explored many ideas," Wishnutama said. He said he was summoned to the Presidential Palace several times, talking only to Jokowi himself, and later he proposed the idea to Jokowi.

"There is no particular message. It was purely a creative concept nothing to do with politics," said Wishnutama as quoted by Antara on Sunday.

Many believe Jokowi really entered the stadium using the motorcycle, but the presidential press bureau has yet to confirm whether or not it was actually Jokowi. 

A Thai stuntman, on his Instagram account @suddum, posted a picture of him on a motorcycle similar to the one in the video, hanging in the air, suspended by several cables. He wrote "Behind the scenes" as the caption. His post sparked speculation that he was the stuntman in the video and the one who entered the stadium on Saturday night. His post was later removed. (ris)