Video-Radio Bridges Communication with Senior Citizens of the Indonesian Diaspora in the US

Concerns about the outbreak of a pandemic and concern for the health of senior citizens from the Indonesian diaspora community in America have given birth to the COVID Task Force from the Indonesian Embassy in Washington, DC From the COVID Task Force, what the initiators called “VidRa Salt’NPepper” was born. “, an online video-radio service as a forum for friendship and communication, as well as a vehicle for encouragement, inspiration, and distribution of information and entertainment in various genres of art and culture from the country.

Starting from the virtual celebration of Eid al-Fitr in 2020 sponsored by the COVID Task Force from the Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia in Washington, DC, chaired by Theo Nugroho, head of the Protocol and Consular Function at the time, several volunteers felt called upon to facilitate the wishes and longings of senior citizens of the diaspora. Indonesia in the American capital and its surroundings by launching an online video-radio which they call VidRa Salt’NPepper.

Rano Karno (bottom left) as a guest star (photo: courtesy)

Rano Karno (bottom left) as a guest star (photo: courtesy)

The program, which is broadcast once a week, can be watched by live streaming via the Zoom application or later via video on demand on YouTube or Facebook.

Meirina (Rina) Hutabarat (photo: courtesy)

Meirina (Rina) Hutabarat (photo: courtesy)

Meirina (“Rina”) Hutabarat is one of the initiators at once technical director VidRa Salt’NPepper (SP). He said the video-radio service was launched because of the feeling of being touched by the longing of the diaspora for a forum for friendship.

“We, who are members of the Elderly Task Force volunteer group, are thrilled to see and feel how much the elderly yearn to interact with each other after the event (virtual Eid) is over. They continue to chat on Zoom, asking how each other is doing,” said Rina.

From there, Rina and two other volunteers, Angela (“Ella”) Widowati Nugroho as program director and Gaby Hasnan as director of public relations with musician Untung Tanoto as sound engineer and author. jingle as well as Tesa as a technical assistant determined to make VidRa Salt’NPepper a weekly routine show.

Gaby Hasnan (photo: courtesy)

Gaby Hasnan (photo: courtesy)

Gaby said that soft launch VidRa SP broadcast takes place on June 13, 2020 and grand launch on July 11, 2020 with a welcome speech by Business Manager (KUAI) Iwan Freddy Hari Susanto and the wife of the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia Ita Siregar.

The target audience for the VidRa SP program are those who belong to a group they call the vintage world – viewers aged 60 years and over, but in reality, “they are assisted and accompanied by grandchildren, children and in-laws when watching. So our target shifts to the elderly and families,” said Rina.

Gaby added that entertainment for the elderly should not only come from the elderly, but also from the younger generation. Therefore, the programs often feature artists who were very famous in their time as well as contemporary artists who are currently popular in Indonesia. Of the many episodes of VidRa SP that have been aired, arts and cultural events are often the mainstay themes, although other themes are also a concern.

“Light information about the artists performing in the episode, old and new songs, information about elderly activities in the DMV area, also in Bali and Jakarta, greeting the elderly and fundraising, in collaboration with groups -other groups (for example) Indonesia Relief USA, Suar Dunia for SAU (Saung Angklung Udjo) and Sticthing Hibiscus, a foundation in the Netherlands that provides assistance to children in Indonesia,” he said.

Meanwhile, Ella added that in various episodes of VidRa SP also invited various groups as guests.

Angela (Ella) Widowati (photo: courtesy)

Angela (Ella) Widowati (photo: courtesy)

“We always try to present top artists, such as Titiek Puspa, Rano Karno, Nia Daniaty, Sandro Tobing, and others, even batik makers like Ghea Sukasah. There are also other themes such as, for example, we support breast cancer by inviting Love Pink Indonesia. There was a young artist, Chelsea Islan who is very well known in Indonesia. With that variation, we try to keep our program popular. From the genre itself, we raised from dangdut to classical music concerts led by seasoned European conductor Avip Priatna, and then health information with COVID survivors and doctors,” said Ella.

Bonita, who is familiar with the nickname Mother is an Indonesian diaspora living in Maryland who never misses a VidRa SP show. To Mouab, he admitted that there are many sources of entertainment from various media, including television, radio and online portals, but according to him, information and entertainment from the homeland are always missed.

Bonietta Alimin ("Mother)

Bonietta Alimin (“Emak)

“With the pandemic, we cannot go out haphazardly, of course we are looking for entertainment other than local TV. We also want to get entertainment from Indonesia. Of course, number one is because we don’t want to miss out on the progress led by President Jokowi, how developments have started with the economic situation, the current state of development…even the trains here are not as luxurious and as good as the trains in Jakarta. We are very proud of these progresses regarding Indonesia, of course,” he explained.

Emak said that from VidRa SP he also received entertainment from various artists as well as adding information about the artists concerned.

“From Salt’NPepper I also got very useful information about singers from music circles such as Titiek Puspa, Arie Kusmiran, James Sundah and others, who they often interview. What I follow from Salt’NPepper, we disseminate to the Indonesian people in the United States. That’s why I always follow the SP program which is very useful to increase our knowledge which is not obtained from television in America,” said Bonita.

Arie Kusmiran (bottom left) as a guest star (photo: courtesy)

Arie Kusmiran (bottom left) as guest star (photo: courtesy)

Both Gaby, Rina, and Ella hope that they will continue to work even after the pandemic has passed. Ella, who now lives in Jakarta, added that “life during a pandemic gave the world an idea to move on a new platform in the form of online via the Internet.

“There is not limited space, not even time, so even though the pandemic can be resolved, virtual culture will still exist, especially to penetrate space. If we have to collaborate with sources on different continents – even across time constraints – we can always agree on a time that convenient, ”Tukas Ella.

In the future, the three women who pay attention and concern for the welfare of the Indonesian diaspora community from the group they call the vintage world hope that VidRa Salt’NPepper will continue to be broadcast and become a vehicle to strengthen ties of friendship and bring friendship among fellow Indonesian diaspora in America. , and continue to strengthen ties with the homeland. In addition, they also want that when needed, VidRa SP can facilitate fundraising actions for “less fortunate brothers” in Indonesia.

Concluding the conversation with Mouab, the three female volunteers said they would “work anytime, work anywhere, and inspire as much as possible.” [lt/ab]

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