Dear Members and Friends,
On Monday, Boris Johnson effectively locked down the UK.
Everybody must stay at home unless your need is essential -shopping, a stroll or jog, or healthcare needs.
This follows a very poor response to government requests for personal discipline as it relates to social distancing.
From the UK, I have received clips of Food areas (kaki Lima and tenda) in Jakarta that clearly don’t understand the need for a change in habits. Even expat-managed bars and restaurants are open for food and beverage because closing up isn’t yet mandatory. Indonesia could have the mitigating factors of lack of information and education, But, for the BRITISH public, no such excuses. So... lockdown, of sorts.
In my role, I receive so many critical papers, but the consistent point is that ‘social distancing’ is the key to flattening the level of new cases. And that is the first sign that the war is beginning to be won.
I sincerely hope the expat community in Indonesia will resolve to set a proper example to follow. This is a time for support, leading by example, not complaints about capability or capacity. Mainstream BRITISH businesses have been swift to implement safer working practices and make the welfare of their Indonesian workforces and clients a priority. Many Indonesian businesses are also moving to action. We hope more will follow a strong and responsible lead.
But then there is also the issue of commercial reality for businesses that employ and daily needs of the millions of Indonesians in the informal sector, relying on daily incomes for essentials. Many countries are able to meet those challenges of lost profit or income with quick reassurance. In the UK, last night the 5m self-employed became the latest group to have a safety net laid equal to 80% of the last 3 years declared profits, paid monthly from June. It really is more difficult for Indonesia. Data is lacking. Reporting is slower and the most needy probably don’t find themselves on any system.
We know President Jokowi and teams are working frantically to come up with solutions. The motivation is definitely there. We hope they will be inspired.
We will share details and comment of any fiscal easing that is intended to relieve businesses, particularly in the context of their workforces.
At a human level and at a slight tangent....
As our UK roadshow concluded on March 13, my oppo in Vietnam was lucky enough to get a last flight out of London to HMC but also unlucky enough to be moved to quarentine. I felt for him when I saw his photos. However his message to our readers below suggests he is in caring hands.
Peter Rimmer’s message to us follows: