Indonesian ‘selebgram’ known for partying and living large under fire for asking donation for hospital bills

Indonesian “selebgram” (Instagram influencer) couple Gaga Muhammad and Edelényi Laura Anna recently got flak for using local donation platform Kitabisa to raise money to fund the latter’s hospital bills. Photo: Instagram/@edlnlaura
Indonesian “selebgram” (Instagram influencer) couple Gaga Muhammad and Edelényi Laura Anna recently got flak for using local donation platform Kitabisa to raise money to fund the latter’s hospital bills. Photo: Instagram/@edlnlaura

An Indonesian Instagram influencer couple (locally known by the terrible portmanteau “selebgram,” which combines the words “seleb” for celebrity and “gram” for Instagram) recently got flak for using local donation platform Kitabisa to raise money to fund the woman’s hospital bills. The page went viral over the weekend as netizens pointed out their seemingly well-to-do lifestyle, featured prominently on Instagram, prior to their current condition. 

Edelényi Laura Anna, who currently has over 778,000 followers on Instagram, was recently involved in a car accident with her boyfriend Gaung Sabda Alam “Gaga” Muhammad, who rose to fame in 2016 after breaking up with his now-famous ex, another popular Indonesian influencer Karin Novilda, known by her social media handles @awkarin.

Last week, Gaga set up a Kitabisa page calling for donations to help Laura’s recovery, writing that the 19-year-old was diagnosed with Cervical Vertebrae Dislocation following the accident, which has affected her mobility. According to reports, he initially set a fundraising target of IDR200 million (US$14,283), before lowering it to IDR50 million.

Screenshot of Gaga Muhammad's Kitabisa page today.
Screenshot of Gaga Muhammad’s Kitabisa page today.

Gaga wrote that the money they raised will be used to pay for her surgery, inpatient fees, drugs and other daily costs at the hospital. At the time of writing, the Kitabisa campaign has ended and a total of nearly IDR49.5 million raised has been disbursed. 

The donation page, which quickly went viral over the weekend, sparked criticisms from many netizens, who pointed out how the couple is known for their blatant display of wealth, including partying and going on vacations abroad. Some highlighted the things Laura has shared on her Instagram page, particularly her brand-new iPhone 11. Laura also appeared to be treated in at least a semi-private room at the hospital, as seen on her Instagram stories. 

Many in Indonesia have utilized Kitabisa to raise funds and help those who are less fortunate, including Indonesian teacher Baiq Nuril, when she had to pay off the IDR500 million (US$35,709) fine the Supreme Court ordered, which was part of her sentence for recording a principal’s sexual harassment against her (Thankfully, Baiq was granted presidential amnesty in July). The platform was also used to raise funds for an ojol driver to buy a new motorcycle, after his old one was stolen while he was buying food for a customer.

However, Gaga and Laura’s recent use of the platform raised an important question among Indonesians on whether or not people with money should be making calls for donations on personal expenses, especially when they appear to be well-off. 

https://twitter.com/prtwiputri/status/1205492409401954305

Edlnlaura, Gaga Muhammad’s girlfriend, partying while healthy and asking for donation when she got sick wkwk (Note: This is a common Indonesian way to textualize laughter, similar to “haha.”)

https://twitter.com/mezsmew/status/1205472083204902912

“Is it wrong to be a selebgram (Instagram celebrity)” “Selebgrams are humans too” Well, mothers, this is why it’s important to teach life insurance to children since young so they won’t be wasting money for fun and the money can be used for the right purpose… She can buy iPhone 11, why can’t she buy insurance… she bought [the phone] in Japan.

Went to school abroad, like to travel around the world, still able to go to parties, staying in the VIP room, [owning] an iPhone 11. A car? She has. A house? She has. Does she really need to crowdfund? Doesn’t she have any shame to people who have more difficult conditions? Alright, get well soon Lau.

https://twitter.com/mazzini_giusepe/status/1205472544985239553

She’s an Instagram celebrity, with 768K followers, received many endorsement offers, she has many expensive stuff, goes to parties often, living a luxurious life. When she got sick, she asks for IDR200 million donation to the public through Kitabisa. She’s really gone so far to keep her luxurious life and the endorsement money to the point that she’s asking for donation. If you want to donate, go ahead, I don’t want to.

Coconuts has reached out to Gaga for a comment.

At the end of the day, people are free to choose who they want to donate their money to. But when those who truly need help get the short end of the stick if crowdfunding platforms lose their credibility because of the actions of a privileged few, is it still fair? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below or on our social media pages.

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