Deliberate misunderstandings and righteous piety seems to be the order of the day in Indonesia’s poisoned and acrimonious political setting.


The latest flap involves a call to boycott travel site Traveloka and uninstall their mobile app following a walkout by detractors when newly installed Governor Anies Baswedan delivered the keynote speech at Canisius College’s 90th anniversary on November 11.

The walkout was led by well-known composer Ananda Sukarlan who objected Anies’s politicking methods to win the gubernatorial election. The walkout generated lots of publicity and social media chatter, and someone out of this mess spread information that one of Traveloka’s founders, Derianto Kusuma, had walked out on Anies together with Sukarlan. Derianto had been slotted to receive a recognition award from the College.

From there things snowballed and soon a “movement” was formed where its supporters asked other netizens to uninstall the Traveloka app on their mobile phones as a sign of protest against Derianto’s action.

The fact of the matter, however, was that Derianto, as explained by Traveloka in a press release, was unable to attend the event as he was traveling overseas. So he couldn’t have joined the walkout.

The quick-of-thumb netizens, however, did not let facts get in their way of their righteous anger and even now the storm in a cyber teacup continues to rage with supporters pushing for a boycott (with the obligatory hashtag) and detractors trying to point out that the call has no basis in fact.

Our reading is that so long as Traveloka does not shoot itself in the foot by saying anything inappropriate, it should just hunker down and go about its business as usual. The naysayers will rage for a day or two and then turn their hate on other things. Such is the world we live in today in Indonesia.

If there is a silver lining amid all these dark clouds of negativity, however, is the amount of creativity it inleashes in the form of memes and witticisms (see below).


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