President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo presided over a 75th Independence Day ceremony along with a handful of state officials and dignitaries at the Presidential Palace in Central Jakarta on Monday morning.
In stark contrast to previous Independence Day ceremonies, Monday’s commemoration was a relatively subdued affair as most of the event took place digitally due to concerns over Covid-19.
Jokowi – clad in traditional East Nusa Tenggara attire embroidered with the nunkòlo motif symbolising national unity – was one of the few state officials who physically attended the flag-hoisting ceremony, along with First Lady Iriana and Vice President Ma’ruf Amin and his wife Wury Estu Handayani.
Other officials who were physically present at the event include Religious Affairs Minister Fachrul Razi and People’s Consultative Assembly Speaker Bambang Soesatyo.
Presidential Secretariat deputy head of protocol, press and media Bey Triadi Machmudin said the number of physical attendees was limited to 20 this year to minimize the risk of coronavirus contagion.
“There are usually hundreds of attendees, but now there are only 20 ceremony participants, as well as 14 [officials] on the stage of honor,” Bey said at the start of the live broadcast.
The broadcast of the flag-hoisting ceremony, which ran from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., was preceded with pre-recorded clips of interviews with former presidents Megawati Soekarnoputri and Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.
The commemoration also featured pre-recorded musical performances that paid tribute to the nation’s heroes.
In one video segment, singer Raisa performed the song Indonesia Pusaka against the backdrop of footage depicting a number of health workers on the frontline of the country’s ongoing battle against the Covid-19 pandemic.
Unlike past ceremonies, this year’s commemoration did not feature a complete line-up of the national flag-hoisting team, in compliance with the health protocols.
The majority of invitees, including Megawati and former vice presidents Jusuf Kalla, Try Sutrisno and Boediono, witnessed the ceremony separately via video conference.
Several foreign officials – including the Dutch, Ukrainian, Thai and Nigerian ambassadors to Indonesia – also attended the video conference.
This article was first published in Asia One . All contents and images are copyright to their respective owners and sources.