What I Think About Indonesians (As an Indonesian) – Part 2


This is the second section about What I think about Indonesians, as some friends ask me to tell more. Honestly, it is little bit hard, as globalization makes everything look same from one and another. Actually I don’t really like it as it can lose your own uniquely peculiarities. Okay, I’d like to share again about Indonesians in accordance to my own experiences as well as what I read about. Are you ready? If yes, let’s go! If not, just sit well on your gummy yummy seat! Hehehe.

You can see the first part here.

  1. Indonesians can easily buy medicines without doctor’s prescriptions at a pharmacy. Particularly if you’ve got only headache or common cold. Or, for many of us, jamu is the best friend for healthiness. Even when you’ve got common cold, many Indonesians tend to do kerokan, it means rubbing down your back by coin after rubbed by liniment oil, cajuputi oil or balsam. It is believed to relieve common cold and make yourself feel better. I prefer having some jamu instead of kerokan.  Go to the doctor? Later on for most Indonesians.
  2. Bureaucracy. Indonesians ‘love’ complicated bureaucracy. From applying ID card or other documents, it can take a long time to finish all. Because there are many procedures you must follow and spend –usually- extra cash. Just be patient for this case.
  3. Many Indonesians still have ‘take a nap’ culture or similar to ‘siesta’, though in larger city it cannot be practiced anymore as working hours. But taking a nap for a moment (15 minutes) can refresh ourselves and ready to work again.
  4. Indonesians will take off their shoes or sandals when they visit someone’s house or even when they come into their own house. Entering house with your shoes or sandals is considered impolite and dirty.
  5. Most Indonesians do not directly show their ‘no’. If they feel cannot join or attend an invitation – for example-, they tend to say ‘maybe I will come’, or ‘let me see’, or politely say rejection.
  6. Halal bi Halal tradition. This is typical tradition among Indonesian muslims. It is usually held weeks after Eid-Ul-Fitr and organized depend on the communities. Halal bi Halal will be held by offices, governments, neighbourhood and families forgiving each other as well as having lunch or dinner together. This is also part of social even which unify all people, even Indonesian non-muslims also join this even as Halal bi Halal has become more universal social gathering.
  7. On your birthday, you must be aware, as your friends or family will trick you first. I say ‘you must be bullied first’ or in Indonesia it is called ‘Jebakan Betmen’ (Batman’s trap). You’ll be thrown by water or egg or something disgusting…but afterwards, they will congratulate you and you cannot be angry anymore as they’ll give you gifts and pray. Heheheeh…so, do not mention your birthday even to your closest friends. But usually it is funny.
  8. Latah. It is maybe part of many Indonesians. I don’t know why, many Indonesians will utter even coarse words when they’re shocked or surprised and this is Latah. But, in many ways, Latah is also understood as following trend totally without caring about its consequences.
  9. Reactive. Most Indonesians are very reactive, even sensitive especially when they hear or see something provocative or offensive (such as religious matters). They can easily be impressed by something weird or strange and praise on it. But sometimes they realize the reaction in such exaggerating or negative ways.
  10. Indonesians will never call their parents by name. It is impolite even offensive when you call your mother or father by name. They will curse or even get rid you if you try to do that.
  11. For Indonesians, breakfast is complete. Rice with all dishes or at least nasi goreng. Lunch and dinner are also almost as complete as breakfast. Because of fast pace live, many Indonesians –particularly in larger cities- now have light breakfast such as sandwich or only some bread.
  12. Sinetron lover. Most Indonesians love to watch soap operas or we call Sinetron (acronym of Sinema Elektronika). There are many soap operas on various Indonesian TV Stations with almost identical themes : Love, revenge, lost and found child, beautiful and handsome casts, unrealistic dream (much alike Latin American Telenovelas) and one more thing, Indonesians also love horror movies. The most popular ghosts are pocong and kuntilanak. Personally I am Sinetron hater.
  13. Basically Indonesians are bilingual. Mostly they can speak at least two languages. Their vernacular language and national one, as there are more than 600-700 languages and dialects in Indonesia. Many said Indonesians speak English in better pronunciation than others.
  14. In Indonesia, when you purchase items in supermarket, or having meal in restaurants, its taxes have been included in the prices (10%).
  15. The smallest governmental structure in Indonesia is RT or Rukun Tetangga (Neighbourhood) which covers one neighbourhood. And usually they know each other very well except you live in elite neighbourhood where individualism is much prevalent.
  16. Indonesians are best commentators. This is a little bit ironic, when soccer match are aired on TV, there are many good commentators. But Indonesian’s soccer achievement is still far from satisfying. I hope one day Indonesians won’t just be best soccer commentators.
  17. Most Indonesians still live with their parents, even when they’ve been getting married and having children.

I think these are the second part. And if I remember, I’ll tell more in the next posting. Do you wanna wait for it? I believe, yes! Some aspects maybe are similar to other parts of the world, but the rest maybe you cannot find it in your own country. Disagree of some? Please do!

I hope we can share and learn each other as part of cross cultural understanding. We never stop learning until the end.

Salam Manis/ Regards

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31 Comments Add yours

  1. Hanno Phenn says:

    This is as interesting and joyful to read as Part One .I hardly can wait on the next Part.

    1. There are still many more Sir. I am still thinking over about it. Which one is typical again, as sometimes every regions in Indonesia has got differences in many ways.

    2. And it makes me increasingly understand about my own culture.

  2. nengwie says:

    Aahh mas Bambang mah bahasanya bikin pusing, bentrok sama Kamus 😀

  3. omnduut says:

    Kerokan… pijat… hmm nikmaaaat 😀

    1. Awas jangan sendawa dimari…hahahaha.

  4. soonie2 says:

    Very interesting! I’ve learned so many new things here!

    1. Thank you very much..let’s share. 🙂

  5. Jackie says:

    Very interesting read! I’ve enjoyed Parts 1 and 2 very much. Thanks. 😀

    1. You’re welcome Jackie. If I remember, I’ll continue it. 🙂

  6. ryan says:

    birokrasi: kalau ada yang bisa dibikin ribet, napa dibikin simpel. betul mas?

    suka pijat… dah lama juga gak pijat lagi. 😀
    tapi gak tahan kalau kerokan, gak bisa diem. kalau mama bakalan suka ‘ngerejeng’

    1. Hehehehe…Aku juga gak begitu suka dikerok. Mendingan diblonyohi minyak angin aja dan minum jamu tolak angin. Hehehehee..

      1. ryan says:

        nah kalau diusap minyak angin aja sih enak tuh mas. langsung tarik selimut. tidur. les. pules.

  7. ibuseno says:

    I am proud to be Indonesian

  8. Haryo Wicaksono says:

    Yeah best commentator, not only in football, but also in many aspect, politic, economy, law, you can see it it online news such as kompas, detik, and many more. That’s the only thing they can do.

    1. Hehehehee..just commenting without solution.

  9. Badai says:

    yes, Indonesian tongue speaks English smoothly rather than neighboring countries do 🙂

    1. Of course…Indonesians can pronounce better.

  10. elok46 says:

    Saya dulu termasuk yg suka melakukan jebakan betmen
    Tapi hanya sahabat dekat sih
    Piye kabare mas?

    1. Alhamdulillah, baik2 saja. Hehehehehehe. Aku gak pernah lhooo.

      1. elok46 says:

        jaman dulu lho mas
        saiki wes tobat

  11. Rosemarie says:

    Very interesting to read. Maybe I missed it, but what is jamu? Birthdays sound dangerous.

    1. Jamu is traditional medicine. It’s made of various herbs and it’s been integral part of us for generations even centuries.

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