Cikupa officials use pocong puppets for health campaign

Ask any born-and-bred Indonesian what they’re most afraid of and 9 times out of 10, the word pocong is going to at least make the top 5. Despite having few capabilities other than hopping over short distances, this ghost frequently haunts the nightmares of many Indonesians.

It is probably this line of thinking that has led the Cikupa subdistrict in Tangerang to use pocong as part of its health awareness campaign to warn people of the dangers of COVID-19. Officials brought out pocong puppets and biers to encourage citizens to obey COVID-19 health protocols.

Cikupa officials stage a funeral procession with pocong puppets

cikupa market pocong procession
The mock funeral procession marches through the market
Image credit: @polsekcikupa_tangkab

As reported by Kompas, officials and police officers from the subdistrict headed out to the Cikupa traditional market on 31st August. Their goal was simple – to better educate the public on the importance of obeying COVID-19 health protocols.

The execution, however, was anything but. Several officials wore full-body PPE equipment while carrying a keranda, a type of bier used in Islamic funeral processions, with a pocong puppet leading the way.

cikupa covid protocols
Banner advising the public to wear face masks, wash their hands, and maintain physical distancing
Image credit: @polsekcikupa_tangkab

Abdullah, the subdistrict’s head, states that COVID-19 public education has been regularly held during the pandemic but recently, the public has been lax about maintaining health protocols. Hence, this inspired the use of pocong that was meant to jolt some awareness into more people.

cikupa pocong biers
Spray-painted writing on the bier that says ‘COVID-19 casualty’
Image credit: @info.cikupa

While the subdistrict’s method is somewhat unorthodox, we applaud their efforts in exploring more creative ways in the fight against COVID-19. With areas around Jakarta recently seeing a surge in the number of cases, local governments are stepping up their efforts to curb the pandemic.

Fines and push-ups for offenders

push up face mask offenders
Offenders being punished with push-ups in Tangerang Selatan
Image credit: Liputan 6

In addition, Abdullah has prepared several punishments for people who’ve been caught without a mask in public places. The punishments range from push-ups to fines of Rp. 100,000, (~USD6.82), notably less than the fines proposed in Jakarta.

While push-ups as punishments aren’t painful on the wallet, the intent is that the public shaming associated with the punishment could act as a deterrent.

Government exploring new ways to curb the spread of COVID-19

While the government has a central role to play against COVID-19, they’re not going to be able to do this alone.

As citizens, it’s our duty to assist them by wearing face masks whenever we go out and keeping a safe distance from others as much as possible. 

For help on coping with working from home, check out these stories:

Cover image adapted from @info.cikupa and @polsekcikupa_tangkab

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