The Jakarta Post
The government should take advantage of the sense of community and togetherness that has formed amid the COVID-19 pandemic, politicians and observers said during a public seminar conducted by the National Resilience Institute (Lemhannas) on Tuesday.
“We have seen how the pandemic fosters a sense of community within ourselves. New movements have emerged from local communities, but they need to be strengthened,” interfaith activist Alissa Wahid, the daughter of former president Abdurrahman “Gus Dur” Wahid, said during the seminar.
“The government needs to build a large-scale campaign on how to embrace the new habits together under community-based approaches.”
Alissa cited a community program initiated by the Central Java administration to help stem the transmission of COVID-19, dubbed Jogo Tonggo (Neighbors Looking Out for Each Other), as an example. In the program, locals collaborate to ensure their neighbors maintain a physical distance, manage food supplies and help each other in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Central Java Governor Ganjar Pranowo said the pandemic had exposed problems within various institutions in the country.
“For example, when education turned online, people started complaining about assignments and boredom. Internet connection and internet quota have also become new problems,” Ganjar said.
“We are completely stripped bare by the pandemic and we not ready. But this is how our nationalism is being tested.”
He said, however, that the situation was an opportunity for a “revolutionary reset” from the ground up.
“This is the moment for us to catch up with our existing local sources,” he said.
Besides Alissa and Ganjar, Tuesday’s event – titled “Nationalism amid the COVID-19 pandemic” – included Education and Culture Ministry secretary-general Ainun Naim, national consortium for COVID-19 vaccine development chairman Ali Ghufron Mukti and University of Indonesia marketing and entrepreneurial expert Rhenald Kasali.