If you think you’ve heard all the arguments spouted by COVID-19 conspiracy theorists, prepare to dip into new depths of WTF courtesy of an Indonesian celebrity.
In the past few months, Indonesian comedian/talk show host Rina Nose (pronounced no-say) has been accused of not taking the COVID-19 pandemic seriously — and now she has ventured into what can only be described as an anti-scientific approach in her attempt to sow skepticism for COVID-19 screening.
Rina recently posted a photo on Instagram, which shows antigen rapid test kits along with a bowl of spicy-sweet sambal dipping sauce for popular fritter cireng (a chewy cassava flour snack) — along with other “evidence” to support her theories in the next slides.
“I tested the cireng sambal using antigen rapid test [kits] on a whim, the result was two lines (indicating reactive result). Then I tested myself and the people at home who had dunked their cireng in the same bowl of sambal, the results were one line. I don’t want to draw any conclusions about what this could mean,” Rina wrote in the photo.
Unsurprisingly, netizens were quick to call her out for her reckless behavior, given that she’s a public figure with a considerable amount of fans and online followers. Rina has responded by writing in the post caption that everyone is divided into different sides since the onset of the pandemic. She claimed that she’s in the “frontline of people who want to think, learn, and find out more about the matter,” while everyone else is “blaming each other because of a virus that still confuses everyone.”
“Let alone us ordinary people, the experts are still debating and arguing with each other based on their knowledge regarding the virus, the test equipment, and the handling,” she wrote.
“Now I’m being blasphemed for testing cireng sambal and the result was positive. If I may ask, what’s wrong with the sample test experiment I did? I didn’t hurt any living being with my experiment (the ones that hurt were comments from netizens),” Rina wrote, adding that she wanted to engage people to think critically.
Earlier today, Rina responded to netizens who demanded that she refrain from posting any unverified information that may influence her more than 21.5 million followers. They also asked her to honor medical workers who are on the frontlines in the fight against the viral disease.
“Hmm… Seems like you forget that there are many humans in this world with various professions and needs in their lives. Maybe you forget that humans’ scope is not limited to hospitals. Why do the people who want to take you around further to see the bigger scope of things [are] always being pulled to occupy a much more narrow space?” Rina responded, sticking to her guns.
Back in October, Rina received public backlash for writing words of encouragement to singer Anji, who himself sparked outcry for presenting the words of a fake microbiology professor about a supposed COVID-19 cure as fact. At the time, Rina said that she empathized with anyone who she feels gets “cornered by the brutal public opinion for revealing their thoughts.”
The antigen rapid test, also known as antigen swab test, is conducted by taking samples of secretions from the nose and throat to detect the presence of certain viral antigens that indicate a current viral infection. The test, which is widely available for around IDR250K (US$17.61), is seen as a relatively accurate quick COVID-19 screening method but is not as accurate as the PCR swab test.