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Opinion | COVID-19 Best Practices: An Opportunity for Indonesia & ASEAN

By Radu Magdin, Smartlink

A crisis is an opportunity for reinvention that should not be missed. With the entire world looking for guidance and hope, there is no better time to showcase leadership and go off the beaten path: what matters is a sound objective and helping your society not only survive but also thrive via economic recovery in the years to come. More than ever, governments, the business sector, and charitable organizations are in the position to be responsive and regain the trust of the citizens, provided that they understand what is required of them: vision and courage. Indonesia can set the tone is South-East Asia and I will provide two telling examples.

Positive examples of transformative engagement have proliferated in the past few weeks. In the political realm, South Korea has become the gold standard for flattening the curve, as its response has proven enormously effective in containing the COVID-19 outbreak. The measures implemented by the country are a combination of transparency, the latest technology, and a responsible approach by institutions and citizens. New Zealand and PM Jacinda Ardern have masterfully displayed the three key things leaders must address to motivate followers to give their best: “direction-giving”, “meaning-making”, and “empathy”. With its focus on cohesion, Denmark has acted swiftly against the outbreak, closing schools, limiting social gatherings, and—in mid-March—shutting its borders entirely. Even more importantly, it is guaranteeing 90% of workers’ salaries t