Coronavirus pandemic

Don't flock home, Indonesian ministers urge in music video

Indonesian ministers have come together to produce a music video discouraging people from flocking back to their home towns ahead of Hari Raya Aidilfitri.

In the 55-second clip titled Jangan Mudik, Nggak Mudik Tetap Asyik (Don't Go On Mudik, It's Still Fun Without Mudik), the ministers - including Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi, Transportation Minister Budi Karya Sumadi and Communications and Information Technology Minister Johnny G. Plate - take turns to dissuade people from mudik, as the annual exodus is known.

Each minister sings the line either in Indonesian or Javanese. The clip has garnered 1.5 million views on Twitter since being posted by the Manpower Ministry on its official Twitter account on Monday. Another version of the clip which features some regional heads - such as West Java Governor Ridwan Kamil and Central Java Governor Ganjar Pranowo - was also posted on the ministry's official Instagram account on Monday.

While reactions to the clips have been mixed, many netizens have been critical of government policies on the pandemic, which has infected more than 20,000 and killed 1,278 - the highest death toll in South-east Asia.

One policy viewed as inconsistent is the decision to reopen all modes of transport on May 7, allowing travel for state and business purposes as well as "essential urgencies", despite the imposition of large-scale social distancing measures in a few regions.

Reports on May 14 showed Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Banten province packed with travellers wanting to fly to their home towns.

Dr Teuku Adifitrian, a jazz singer, commented on the Manpower Ministry's tweet of the video: "What are these distinguished gentlemen and ladies doing? It's not that I don't respect (you), but please do your work properly."

User @rizki_thamrin commented on the ministry's Instagram post: "Indeed, it's fun, Sir. But why are transport modes still free (to operate)?"

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 22, 2020, with the headline 'Don't flock home, Indonesian ministers urge in music video'. Print Edition | Subscribe