‘Santuy’: Indonesian worker in Taiwan braves coronavirus infection by posting cheerful TikTok videos

Photo: Screengrab from SET Live News
Photo: Screengrab from SET Live News

An Indonesian national working as an elderly caregiver in Taiwan has been diagnosed with COVID-19, but her cheerful attitude after contracting the disease may land her in trouble with local authorities despite it representing a rare respite from the doom and gloom of global coronavirus coverage in recent months.

The 30-year-old, whose identity was not disclosed by Taiwanese authorities, was reportedly caring for an elderly man between Feb. 11 to 16. On Feb. 26, she was diagnosed with COVID-19 and was placed in quarantine at a Taipei hospital. Taiwanese authorities believe she may have infected others when she traveled numerous times by train and bus between Feb. 16 to 19.

While in quarantine, the caregiver posted videos through TikTok and Facebook live streaming. In one clip, she is seen lip-syncing to an Indonesian song, seemingly in jovial spirits. She also revealed the name of the hospital where she was being quarantined, as well as the drugs she had to take.

For one video, she wrote “I am so santuy even though I am infected with the coronavirus,” in the caption, using a colloquial Indonesian term denoting a chill attitude, often in the face of adversity.

Her videos were shared by Taiwanese media, but her face was reportedly censored as local authorities require that the identities of COVID-19 patients be kept under wraps to prevent panic in the country.

The caregiver may be sanctioned by Taiwanese authorities for violating identity disclosure rules by posting her videos.


Indonesia’s Foreign Ministry confirmed that the caregiver has been diagnosed with COVID-19 and said that she is in stable condition in quarantine. The ministry noted that she is an undocumented worker in the country, but said that it won’t turn a blind eye to her well-being.

“We are coordinating with Taiwanese health authorities to ensure that she is given the best care possible and we will continue to monitor her condition,” Foreign Ministry’s Indonesian Citizens Protection Department Director Judha Nugraha said in a written statement yesterday.

There is no confirmed COVID-19 case on Indonesian soil, but nine Indonesians — all of whom are crew members of the virus-stricken Diamond Princess cruise ship — have tested positive for the disease. The diagnosis of the caregiver in Taiwan brings the number of total current infections to 10, after one domestic worker who was diagnosed with COVID-19 recovered from the disease earlier this month.

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