End of Week 17 of Work from home

Today is the last day of Week 17 of our working from home and I’ve decided to start writing in this blog again to chronicle what’s going on around us.

While its easy to be snarky about the government’s handling of the pandemic, I’ll refrain from doing so and try to keep things to observations, inferences and thoughts about events as they unfold.

Yesterday we saw a record high of 2,657 recorded cases of COVID in Indonesia. The official national tally stood at 70,736.

There is widespread belief that these figures represent only a fraction of the true tally for many reasons. The government’s inadequacy to test, bureaucratic fumbling, and social stigma against COVID deaths. Many stories about how families persuade hospitals to classify the cause of death as something else instead of COVID.

The situation is that nobody knows exactly the extent of the pandemic in Indonesia. If you were cynical you could say that this is exactly the Government would do – keep people in the dark – if it has given up other means and decided that herd immunity is the only course for Indonesia.

The spike in new recorded cases also coincides with a fortnight after the government announced an easing to social distancing rules. The phrase they bandy about is New Normal, leading many people to think that its now safe to get back to life as normal, perhaps with the addition of wearing a mask. So many people have been getting together, going to restaurants, prayers and other events involving many people in confined spaces.

Indonesia, it seems to me, is on a slow burn to disaster. The first wave has not crested and it will likely roll on for a very long time. So instead of the sharp and short impact of lockdowns followed by easing, we have an uneasy quasi, semi-lockdown that might go on and on.

We have been monitoring the news each day to see what the Government says and does to control the pandemic. After all these months the exercise breeds cynicism and ennui.

President Jokowi, who was so full of promise and able to get things done on his first term, seels to have lost his mojo in his second term, which starts roughly just before the pandemic struck.

He is reduced to futile exhortations, empty threats to reshuffle the Cabinet, scolding the ministers but all of it seemingly falling on deaf ears because the does not follow up on his threats or show that there is any consequences of not following his orders.

So we slouch toward an uncertain fate.

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