With Asian Games theatrics, Jokowi campaign off to roaring start
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With Asian Games theatrics, Jokowi campaign off to roaring start

WITH only weeks left until campaigning begins in Indonesia’s presidential race, incumbent Joko “Jokowi” Widodo seems to have given his re-election bid a dramatic kick-off with a motorcycle stunt at the Asian Games 2018 opening ceremony on Saturday.

During the event in Senayan, Jakarta, a man resembling Jokowi rode a Presidential Security Detail (Pasampres) motorcycle to make a roaring entrance into the stadium before tens of thousands of spectators.

The stunt generated quite a buzz on social media with Jokowi garnering over one million views on Instagram alone as of Monday. On YouTube, his appearance gained at least 800,000 views in a posting by official broadcaster SCTV.

The tongue-in-cheek sequence, which involved a five-minute video prepared for the glitzy event, saw Jokowi and his motorcade stuck in heavy traffic typical of Jakarta. Running late to attend the opening, the fully suited-up Jokowi takes on a high-powered motorcycle and rips through the city’s busy streets.

SEE ALSO: Indonesia polls: Jokowi’s social media presence overwhelms Prabowo’s by far 

In one scene, Jokowi is seen speeding up a ramp and leaping over pedestrians on their way to the event. In another, he is seen doing a stoppie (a manoeuvre where the bike is abruptly stopped leaving the rear end suspended in the air).

Shortly after, the biker (who is likely a stunt-double) arrives in the stadium to a rousing welcome before he speeds into a parking bay. The biker then enters an elevator and seconds later, Jokowi, wearing the same outfit, makes an entrance at the VIP stand.

According to the Straits Times, the sequence was also a hit on Twitter with the hashtags #proudtobeindonesian and #stuntman trending in the country, with one of the most numbers of social media users in the region.

On Twitter user likened Jokowi to Hollywood A-lister Tom Cruise in the action film Mission: Impossible.

“This is only in Indonesia, My President looks alike @TomCruise on Mission Impossible movie, Bravo Pak @jokowi, You’re da Best..,” the tweet by @dethabun said.

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Indonesian President Joko Widodo attends the Taekwondo event during the Asian Games in Jakarta. Source: Reuters

Jokowi’s sole opponent, Prabowo Subianto, is trailing far behind on social media dominance barely a month before the republic’s election campaign season goes into full swing.

Jokowi has Twitter 10.2 million followers on Twitter while Subianto has only a third of the figure at 3.17 million followers.

On Instagram, Jokowi’s 10.8 million followers outnumber Prabowo eight-to-one, but the incumbent president is behind Prabowo on Facebook with one million fewer followers.

SEE ALSO: Who did Jokowi handpick to be his 2019 running mate? 

Social media is expected to be a key battleground for the two politicians who are wooing an estimated 70 million first-time voters.

And until polling day in April next year, the candidates are expected to be using technology like never before.

But even with the apparent social media dominance, Jokowi’s battle with the influential Prabowo will likely be neck and neck.

A recent poll by Harian Tribum Medan, which took responses from 2,600 users, saw Jokowi and his running mate Ma’ruf Amin take receive a resounding 67 percent of the vote while Prabowo and Sandiaga Uno received only 32 percent.

On Facebook, however, Jokowi-Ma’ruf gained only 39 percent of the vote compared to Prabowo-Sandi’s 61 percent.