The Jakarta Post
Countries all around the globe have told their citizens to stay at home in an effort to curb the COVID-19 outbreak, forcing people stuck in their homes for weeks to deal with boredom and having no idea how to spend their free time.
However, this is not an issue for members of the Indonesian diaspora living in the United States, who have been holding virtual activities to kill the time, including an online kebaya (traditional blouse) competition through video conference.
Members of Amerika Bersatu (America Unites), a sociopolitical civil group initially created to gather supporters of President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo during the 2019 election campaign, used online video conference platform Zoom to hold the competition in an effort to showcase their nationalism.
Their signature event was called Selasa Berkebaya (Tuesday with Kebaya).
Amerika Bersatu founder Tricia Sumarijanto, also the initiator of Selasa Berkebaya, said the initiative came up as a way to maintain relationships and provide moral support for Indonesians living across the US during the pandemic.
“With a lot of bad news all around, we want to spread optimism and positivity,” said Tricia who lives in Washington DC and teaches angklung in US schools.
The online kebaya competition was held on Tuesday, attended by 25 participants from 11 cities across the US, including Washington DC, Las Vegas, New York, Seattle and San Francisco.
Dyan Wibowo from Leesburg, Virginia, won the title of Best Kebaya wearing a costume called Wong Ndeso (villager).
“Everyone is facing the crisis in their own way. I believe this event can have a positive impact,” said Sinta Penyami who lives in Philadelphia and hosted the event.
Apart from the competition, the diaspora has also held other activities, including physical exercises such as gymnastics and yoga. Luthfi Madjid, a yoga instructor from New York, said meditation was among the keys to a relaxing mindset amid the crisis.
“In the meantime, let’s boost our optimism that this [crisis] will end soon.”
The latest data compiled by the General Elections Commission (KPU) from Indonesian missions in the US record more than 117,000 Indonesians living across the country.
Together with millions of other Americans, they have been practicing self-isolation for two weeks to curb the transmission of COVID-19, which has spread to almost all states. The US is currently topping the chart with the greatest number of COVID-19 cases in the world, taking over Italy and the virus ground-zero China.