Journalist and Entrepreneur Rory Asyari Wants Us to Keep Smiling and Not Being Selfish

Journalist and Entrepreneur Rory Asyari Wants Us to Keep Smiling and Not Being Selfish
2020 has taught us to build new habits due to the pandemic. This year, we are challenged to stay motivated and learn more about the new reality as we welcome the vaccination program in Indonesia. Recently, we had the chance to virtually interview independent journalist, health enthusiast and COVID-19 survivor Rory Asyari on how to be more aware of the situation and lift our spirit up.

From how to overcome his anxieties and not giving up the idea of wearing a mask after the pandemic, the Co-Founder of Sleep Project Indonesia and Sepikul gives us a whole new perspective on how to live our lives during the pandemic and after. Read the full interview: (m): Hi Rory! How are you? We’ve been battling the pandemic for over a year now and we are still adjusting to the deeper meaning on how to live in a pandemic era. As a survivor of COVID-19, what are the most important things to know about this pandemic that you would share with us?

Rory Asyari (RA): Everybody has already known about the seriousness of this pandemic. How to prevent this, how to treat it, and how to get first aid once we are contacted. But what I learned most from this pandemic is that we can’t be selfish when it comes to COVID-19. It is not a disease that will be confined only to us once we are contacted but we can also pass it on to  other people.

So, it is very crucial for us to get tested and to know whether we are positive or negative. And if we are positive then it is very important for us to limit the disease, not to pass on to others especially those who are vulnerable, such as our parents, friends, or family with comorbidities. So, it’s very important for us to not to be selfish when it comes to COVID-19.

And it’s a huge importance for us to get ourselves vaccinated as well. By then we can create herd immunity so this pandemic can be stopped.

Rory Asyari is wearing a robe from Sleep Project Indonesia / Photo courtesy of Rory Asyari

m: What are the new habits you have developed during the pandemic and how do you stay motivated? 

RA: I think one of the hobbies that I find really interesting during the pandemic is cooking. Because it’s really soothing, relaxing, and I get to explore my old skills that I got when I took my masters in the U.K. I used to cook a lot, almost every day when I was in the U.K. So, during this pandemic I re-explore my ability and hobby in cooking.

m: What is your go-to activity to overcome anxiety during the pandemic? 

RA: I think during the pandemic I got anxiety attack a lot. I’m thinking about my business continuity, my employees, my parent’s health, my own health. So, lots of anxieties. One of the ways to overcome my anxieties is to get informed about my loved ones, my family, my friends. I’d reach out to them, asking how they are, whether they’re ok or not, if I could give any help, what would that be.

So, getting informed is one of the ways to overcome anxiety. Number 2 is working out, at least one hour a day. It gives me a sense of optimism and it really releases stress within me. So, get informed and workout.

Rory Asyari is wearing Grey Camouflage from’s KF SeriesPhoto courtesy of Rory Asyari

m: One thing that’s probably all of the people you know would remember about you is that you always smile! It’s a simple thing but most people tend to feel hard doing so. Does it have a positive effect on yourself? 

RA: I think, well, smiling is the first step of being kind to others. And I believe that being kind to other people is a very good nature of a human being. So, by giving a smile it is the gate/door before we do kind for other people. So, it is really important and crucial.

And during the pandemic, we cannot smile at people as freely as it used to be because our faces are covered with masks. But people will know when we smile with our eyes, even when our faces are covered with masks. So, I don’t believe in the notion that “hey we’re wearing a mask so why would you smile at the camera or other people?”

Smiling even when you’re wearing a mask is still different. People are still able to say or find out whether you’re smiling or not even when your face is covered with a mask. So, keep smiling even when your face is covered.

m: You are always mindful about what you do and anything that happens around you. If you could ask the people around you to be more aware of something currently, what would it be? 

RA: I think I would ask people to be more aware of the one told you earlier about not being selfish. This is a situation where if we go selfish, then other people might also bear the consequences.

This is the time when if we go reckless then our parents and loved ones would be bearing the consequences. So not to be selfish is one thing that I’d like to press more, to remind people more during this difficult situation.

Rory Asyari is wearing Grey Camouflage and Urban Marble from’s KF Series collection / Video courtesy of Rory Asyari

m: Wearing a mask is obligatory and has become a new lifestyle. How do you feel about wearing it for the last 1.5 year now? 

RA: I think it’s great. I want to continue wearing a mask even after the pandemic because it gives a sense of safety and privacy to me. Let alone if we’re talking about masklab whose masks are fashionable and stylish I think there’s no reason for me to ditch my mask even after the pandemic.

It’s really great, you can just mix and match between masks, and try to fit it in your clothes or daily fashion. I think that’s a great idea. I’m not giving up my mask even after the pandemic. I'm still going to wear my mask for the sense of security, safety and also privacy.

m: What are the most concerning issues you have in mind about the pandemic and what would you say to anyone who’s struggling in adjusting with the new lifestyle? 

RA: I think the most concerning issue is the discipline of Indonesian people in particular. I myself as a journalist and TV presenter have warned people, “hey, we don’t want to be like India in March, April, where we saw death tolls and the number of cases soared really exponentially." We didn’t want that.

And I had warned people about that and the government also had warned people to not be complacent but here we are today in Indonesia, the number of cases and deaths have increased exponentially as bad as what we saw in India. In terms of number it is still lower but in terms of condition It is as bad as India.

So that’s the most concerning issue, discipline. So, this pandemic has taught me to be disciplined, doing health protocols, keeping myself and others around me safe, discipline to get yourself vaccinated, get yourself tested once in a week and discipline not to break health protocols such as going out with friends or having a party during the pandemic. I think that’s a very small thing but very important if we just follow the health protocols in this uncertain situation.


- By Maya A. Siregar - created an interview column called #RedefineTheNewNormal to get new perspectives and insights from various Indonesian personalities who have interesting point of views in lifestyle and fashion. Reach out to us via e-mail at, we are looking forward to hearing from you!

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