What can a gold medal possibly do?
In the Asian Games that was held in Indonesia, specifically in the city of Jakarta and Palembang, the answer is : a lot.
We are a boiling pot country, we consists of a lot of races and religions. Even if the motto of our country is ‘Bhinneka Tunggal Ika’, which means ‘Unity in Diversity’, the truth is, lots of people are still very much biased towards their own. Or some may call it : racist. We can’t run from it, because at times we’re also told to ‘help our own’. And ‘our own’ has a loose meaning. For those who are the better people, our own simply means human kind. But for those who are more close minded, our own held a more specific meaning.
We’ve come so far from the past to shake loose of racism and facism. But we still find them in today’s world nevertheless. Former Jakarta governor Ahok was jailed because of an alleged religion blasphemy. Since he’s in jail, I’ll say he’s proven guilty. Law is law. But the situation and surrounding during when he was tried was full of unneeded hate and propaganda towards his ethnic and religion. And lately, a mother was sentenced 1,5 year of jail time because she protested that the sound of the speaker from a mosque nearby her house is too loud. And before all of that, churches was dissolved during Christmas or Easter service in Bandung. There are lots, lots of examples of racism here. You name it, we have it.
But this time around, during the event of sports championship, we are able see the literal implementation of our so highly uphold moral code of ‘Bhinneka Tunggal Ika’.
When the badminton final was held, everybody, and I mean everybody watched the match. My Instagram Story was full of snippets of the final. People in work places paused their work to watch (even using projector in their meeting rooms!). People at home stops their activities to watch. And when Jonathan Christie won the gold medal, everybody screamed and jumped in awe and pride. Nobody put it into a problem when he made a cross after winning (as Catholics usually do before they pray).
When Lindswell Kwok won the gold modal for wushu, nobody put it into a problem that she’s of Chinese ethnicity. Everybody was just proud that she was Indonesian and the gold medal she won for the country.
And recently, Hanifan Yudani Kusumah brought our two presidential candidates for 2019, incumbent President Joko Widodo and Prabowo Subianto into a group hug when he won gold medal for Pencak Silat. The presidential candidacy have been a very serious issue recently. Both have just announced their participation in the weeks before, and both fought for the seat back in 2014, which Mr Jokowi won with only a of slight 5% difference. So the sight of the two of them in a hug was just very heart warming. It gave a smile that for a time they can put their differences and ambitions aside and celebrate the win and celebrate Indonesia.
So what can a gold medal possibly do?
A lot. It brings us together and warm our hearts and make us forget our differences.
I hope that we will always have the gold medal mentality everyday so we can overcome our differences and become one Indonesia.