COVID-19 Attack! What might be changed in Indonesian Culture and beliefs?

Ahmad Nuralim

Tadris Bahasa Inggris A6

 Photo by Tyler Morgan on Unsplash


At present, the world is facing a very serious problem that affects all aspects of life, social, economic, education and so on, which are related to the problem of the existence of the Covid-19 pandemic that is spreading throughout the world. Beginning on December 31, 2019, China reported mysterious cases of pneumonia with no known cause, then epidemiological data showed 66% of patients were related to a seafood market or live market in Wuhan, Hubei Province of China, then samples of isolates from patients were examined with the results showing infection coronavirus, a new type of betacoronavirus, named 2019 Coronavirus novel (2019-nCoV) On February 11, 2020, the World Health Organization named the new virus Severa acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 or SARS-CoV-2 and named the disease as Coronavirus disease 2019 or COVID-19 (PDPI, 2020).

COVID-19 virus can spread directly from person to person when coughing or exhaling produces droplets so that it can spread to other peoples nose, mouth or eyes, and to an object because the droplets are too heavy to air, they land on objects and surfaces that surround them . People can be infected with COVID-19 by touching contaminated objects or surfaces and then touching their eyes, nose or mouth. therefore, World Health Organization (WHO) continues to recommend that everyone perform hand hygiene regularly, following respiratory etiquette recommendations and surfaces that are cleaned and disinfected regularly. WHO also continues to recommend the importance of maintaining physical distance and avoiding people with respiratory symptoms or fever. This precaution will limit the transmission of the virus (WHO, 2020).

Cultural Change: Behavior and Norm

Culture has external and internal parts, the external part includes behavior and the internal part includes attitudes and norm (Pujiyanti & Zuliani, 2014). The application of Social Distancing and Physical Distancing to prevent the transmission of the Covid-19 pandemic is very contrary to the behavior of Indonesian people who are world-famous for their hospitality, so the application of Social Distancing and Physical Distancing greatly changes previous behaviors, including; Swarming (berkerumun), the suggestion of Social Distancing with just at home, to prevent Covid-19 transmission, this is also not in accordance with the culture of Indonesian people, especially the villagers who are grapyak with fellow neighbors, so that if there is a community infected with Covid-19, it is feared that it will spread quickly. Using masks, the use of masks when leaving the house is not a habit of Indonesian people in general. Generally people wear masks when traveling long distances by driving motorcycle. Then washing hands is also now a habit of society, previously not everyone did the habit of frequently washing their hands, but this habit becomes a positive change.

Smart tips for implementing social and physical distancing have also changed norms that have long been applied around our society, including Shake Hands (bersalaman), shake hands including norms of decency (norma kesopanan), before the existence of the Covid-19 pandemic, when people met people they would greet and then shake hands, but after the Covid-19 pandemic the handshake was not allowed according to WHOs recommended health protocols Physical Distancing, even as much as possible we were encouraged to maintain a distance. Here the perspective of the community will change, for example if someone invites shakes when we meet then we reject it then we will be perceived as someone who has a bad attitude, but not so at this time, even refusing to shake hands can be considered a good attitude to prevent transmission Covid-19. Then suggestion for applying social and physical distance seems to change the moral norms that have been Indonesian traditions and it seems like it will be gone, namely Silaturrahim on every Eid al-Fitr (Lebaran), which in the young people apologizes to the elders, and and forgives each other, which apologizes including moral norms in our society.

The conclusion is that the Covid-19 pandemic has changed behavior and norms in society, and most likely will create New Normal as reported by many domestic and foreign media. New Normal in terms of life and new habits will not only occur in culture but in all aspects of life including education, economics, business and so on.



PDPI. (2020). Pneumonia Covid-19; Diagnosis & Penatalaksanaan di Indonesia. Perhimpunan Dokter Paru Indonesia.

Pujiyanti, U., & Zuliani, F. R. (2014). Cross Cultural Understanding: A Handbook To Understand Others’ Cultures. CV. Hidayah.

WHO. (2020). Subject in Focus: COVID-19 virus persistence: Implications for transmission and precaution recommendations. https://www.who.int/docs/default-source/coronaviruse/situation-reports/20200326-sitrep-66-covid-19.pdf?sfvrsn=9e5b8b48_2

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