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National Heroes Day: Indonesia’s Tirelessly Unsung Patriots

The 10th of November is celebrated as National Heroes Day to commemorate the heroism of Indonesian patriots during the 1945 Battle of Surabaya against the British-led militia along with the Dutch. Contrary to popular belief, Indonesia has actually agreed to a ceasefire with the British prior to the battle, but was later broken due to unceasing conflict between the British and the people of Surabaya that led to the death of Brigadier J. Mallaby. Taking place not too long after President Soekarno’s declaration of independence on August 17th, the British gave an ultimatum during the 10th of November to either surrender or the British will besiege Surabaya without reserve. To which, the Indonesian military and the people of Surabaya decisively refused, leading to a violent conflict that went on for three weeks that eventually ended in the British’s defeat.

This was a momentous occasion for Indonesia, for it was their first ever battle as a newly independent nation. Not only was it their first battle against a foreign power, but for it to be a victory at that, was a truly glorious feat that has no one to thank but the vigours and strength of the people’s love for their new country. To appreciate such a victory, would be to show appreciation for those who have worked tirelessly in the service of the nation, to ensure that the prosperity and posterity of today’s youth would be safe and dignified. In a not too distant example, we can appreciate a similar strand of heroism by this definition in the many services that the MSME sector have time after time provided.

Among its most impressive features is the sector’s sheer economic importance. It is unarguably the most important foundation in Indonesia’s economy, for the number of workers in the sector alone have reached 64.2 million in 2021, rounding up their contribution to the nation’s gross domestic product as 61,07% or Rp. 8.5 trillion in total. 97% of Indonesia’s workforce falls under the MSME category, rendering investments to reach 60,4% in total. For a sector that often finds the hardest of struggles due to their relatively small size, considering the name in itself is “Micro and Small,” MSME workers are the true backbone to Indonesia’s economy.

At some point you might ask yourself, if the MSME sector truly is the backbone of Indonesia’s economy then how come it is so vulnerable to poverty and indigence? Given the impact that any economic crisis has had, the MSME sector would considerably receive its harshest consequences due to its “Micro and Small” enterprises. On the contrary however, the sector’s vulnerability is exactly where their hallmark resilience can be found, as the MSME sector entertains an indisputably important role especially whenever there is a crisis, to kick off the revitalization of the economy. To support the nation’s economy even during an economic crisis such as the one caused by the COVID-19 pandemic is no easy feat. However, it is a job that the sector has nonetheless had to embrace and to which, we are all the better for.

With all things considered, we are all gloriously indebted to the MSMEs. So on this 10th of November, let us celebrate the work that they have provided to us tirelessly and resiliently, all in the name of ensuring that our economy continues to be as glorious as it is remarkable. For all of the hardship they have had to endure, from the compromises to their well-being, to the various structural vulnerabilities that can render them impoverished at any given moment, it is important that we show as much deference to this humble sector as we can for all of the services and labour that they have contributed.

In AwanTunai, we have modelled our services around our indebtedness to the MSMEs’ services. We believe that it is our responsibility to give back to the services they have thanklessly provided, by improving their financial condition through the digitalization of their inventory to help them embrace the new age of digitization, as well as provide them with better economic standings by becoming one of our wholesaler partners. If you share our vision in the celebration and appreciation of the MSME sector, join us today in AwanTunai and see what you can do to honour these modern-day heroes and their unwavering valorous work.

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