Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Ever wondered why some foreigners like to live in Indonesia? Well, maybe my list of TOP 10 best of living in Indonesia will explain. Here it goes.

1. Best coffee and tea in the world.

Cultivation of coffee trees in Indonesia started on Java in 17th century when Dutch first brought coffee to Batavia (city changed its name to Jakarta in 1942) and started export of the second oldest commercially produced coffee in the world – Java coffee. Ever since Indonesia has been one of the major exporters of coffee and today it is the world's fourth largest exporter. Majority of production is a Robusta coffee, but production and export of high quality Arabica coffee is slowly increasing. If you happen to be in Indonesia you can enjoy freshly roasted high quality coffee from Java, Sumatra, Aceh and other areas of Indonesia.

A cup of cappuccino in Jakarta can be as good as in Rome or even better, thanks to the optimum freshness of coffee – it is premium quality up to one week after roasting. My favourite choice of locally produced coffee is Merdeka Coffee, Excelso is also great. I leave Starbucks to amateur coffee drinkers. I'll just mention one thing that I've found fairly ridiculous about local cafés and especially Cup&Cino café at Plaza Semangi. They don't have Indonesian coffee in their offer, so it is foreign franchise selling imported coffee in country which is 4th largest exporter of coffee in the word and a producer of high quality coffee! I consider this to be an example of awful lack of support for Indonesia and when I and my friends found out we decided to boycott the place.
What about tea? In Poland everyone knows Java tea and it is one of the most popular beverages (if not the most popular) in Poland. There's nothing better than enjoying a cup of original Java tea in the early morning mountain mist at the place from which this tea originates i.e. tea fields around Puncak. Incredible experience.

2. Hot weather all year long.

Yup, sun shines here all year long with only short periods of rain during rainy season. When I decided to emigrate I had to make a choice between Canada and Indonesia. Although Canada is a great place to live, I decided to move to Indonesia. I simply hate winter and perspective of not having to experience it each year was just too tempting. Since I also like when it rains this place is just perfect for me. There are number of advantages of living in a tropical country among which most interesting is: not having to buy new winter clothes each year; enjoying sun anytime during the year; no winter depression and ability to wear simple cloths such as t-shirt all year long. Indonesia is a fantastic place to live for everyone who likes hot weather.

3. AMAZING tourist attractions.

Indonesia has some of the most famous diving spots and beaches in the world. The most famous is certainly Bunaken National Park, considered as one of the top 10 dive spots in the world. However, with 25 percent of world's coral reefs located in Indonesia, there are plenty of opportunities for divers. Beside Bunaken, other known diving areas are located around Lombok Island, channel between Nusa Penida and Nusa Ceningan, Sanighe Island (North Sulawesi), Biaro Island, Bangka Island etc.
Beach at Sangihe Island
Bali has some of the world's most famous beaches such as Kuta or Jimbaran. I've personally found Siau (North Sulawesi) to be most impressive as it was my favourite spot among all my travels around Indonesia, yet unfortunately it is poorly developed and not ready for a mainstream tourism.
Indonesia has also quite a few UNESCO World Heritage sites, such as:
  • Komodo National Park,
  • Ujung Kulon National Park,
  • Borobudur Temple compound,
  • Prambanan Temple compound,
  • Sangiran Early Man Site,
  • Lorentz National Park,
  • Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra.
Overall Indonesia has so many tourist attractions, from tropical beaches and diving spots, to rare rainforest flora and fauna, volcanoes, hot springs and simply whatever you could imagine.

I'll jut conclude that tourists pay thousands of dollars to get here for short holidays. If you happen to live in Indonesia all these world's famous tourist destinations are available only few hours of flight away. This also means you can get fancy holidays for ridiculously low amount of money and with no special preparations. Moreover, if you have KITAS (stay permit) you can get discounts in hotels and pay lower entrance fee at some tourists spots such as Borobudur or Bunaken.

4. Indonesian people.

The national motto of Indonesia "Bhinneka tunggal ika" (Unity in diversity) reflects the union of a various different cultures. The significant variety of cultures transfers also to the daily life and simply makes it more interesting. We can enjoy various arts from different parts of Indonesia, variety of food (more about this in next point), variety of local traditions, various religion ceremonies which overall is extremely interesting and definitely enriching our experience. Moreover, in general Indonesian people are so friendly and life enjoying that I think we could learn a lot from their positive nature. It's hard to stay positive even when everything around seems negative (financial crisis, wars, riots in the news) and somehow locals can deal with this perfectly well. Beside, the specific culture that is so much different makes our lives here interesting every day, there's always something new to surprise us.

Note: If you're Caucasian you'll have to get used to hearing "Hello mister!" and if you happen to visit place lest frequently visited by foreigners you may observe crowds of people surrounding you and asking various questions. The best advice for such situation is "smile and wave". All this can be very surprising experience and it simply reflects interest of local people in foreigners. Nothing to worry about, just enjoy the unusual situation.

5. Great variety of food and fresh fruits.

Ever seen Durian, the infamous smelly king fruit loved by Indonesians? Well, you can actually eat it here for most of the year. Beside if you live in Indonesia you can enjoy lots of other unique fruits that you won't be able to find in supermarkets in Europe such as fresh Mango, Rambutan, Bali fruit, Snake fruit etc. You can enjoy all these tropical fruits daily and fresh. Beside this the variety of food available in Jakarta is also interesting. Padang food (spicy), Balinese food, Manadonese food, various of soto and satay from all over Indonesia or even such a strange delicates like snake satay (can be found in Kota). Additionally, lots of unique Chinese food and very cheap seafood.

Well, there is one minus, that is a lack of immunity to local diseases which can quickly result in a very bad stomach ache. However, the good news is that after two years or so you'll get immune to nearly everything, including typhoid and God or "kaki lima" chef knows what strange food related diseases.

6. Exciting and challenging life.

Since Indonesia is so big and different, it is actually a big challenge to live here in a very different culture. However, this can just make our lives more interesting. Actually, there are so many events here daily that you'll hardly get bored. If you're news junkie you'll here about number of disaster each month, from crashing planes, sinking ferries up to mudflows or floods, earthquakes and volcanoes, you name there's everything here. It's quite sad actually. It also frightens foreign tourists a lot – especially bombings – but for those of us who live here slowly get accustom to such extreme life and simply watch these extreme events as they unfold and discuss it with friends. Are we crazy to still stay here? Well, foreign news agencies like to exaggerate a lot and the truth is that Indonesia is lot safer than most think and actually often even safer than your own country. Just to let you know USA just released new travel warning for Indonesia and let me quote it:
Due to the possibility of terrorist attacks directed against American or other Western citizens and interests, the Department of State urges American citizens to evaluate carefully the risks of travel to Indonesia. The October 1, 2005, terrorist attacks in Bali in which suicide bombers killed 20 people and injured more three than 100 are a reminder that terrorists remain active in Indonesia. The possibility of future attacks in Bali, Jakarta, or other areas of Indonesia cannot be ruled out.
They are certainly right, but base on plain statistics lot less people died as a result of terrorism in Indonesia than in USA, so it really is not that bad as you might think. Life is unpredictable and we can't be completely safe anywhere. Actually, I find myself feeling lot safer at night on the streets of Jakarta than in my small city in Poland. More than five years here and I had not a single incident of someone attacking me or trying to start a fight, while I had such experiences quite often in Poland.

7. Efficient government service.

Now, it'll get bit controversial as opinion on this subject is highly diversified.
Few months here and you probably already know the term KKN (Korupsi-Kolusi-Nepostisme), which obviously means Corruption-Collusion-Nepotism. Indonesians often use it to describe all corruption related experience and it is definitely significant issue here and has a various forms. You're probably surprised with my introduction as what corruption has to do with efficiency of government services? Well, I see several kinds of corruption and surprisingly, one small type of corruption activities of local government officials I actually consider as beneficial. Why? Well, if I lose some important document in Poland it could take a month to get a replacement, while In Indonesia if you are in rush you can simply pay bit more to the officer and get your documents done the very same day, as I've heard. If for some reasons you have a problem with documents i.e. you can't find Hungarian/Russian/Mandarin/Hindu/Hokien/Irish translator of some document that you need for certain govt procedure, you'll only have to pay bit more and government official will suddenly read not only the previously mentioned languages, but also Dutch or even Farsi, Klingon and any language you can imagine – as I've heard. So, some are of something called here KKN is actually often helpful. In our countries red tape can be very annoying and time consuming while here we you still have other options and don't have to look for certified Klingon translator.
FYI I'm very surprised to read information about suppose lack of efficiency of local government in the process of establishing companies here in Indonesia as compared to neighbour countries. If you want to know how ridiculous it is just take a look at this document. According to some Law Firms Interview (World Bank 2005), number of days for setting up a business (PT. company) in Indonesia is about 151 days! In reality, it is very different from what was described in the report. For comparison The University of Indonesia’s Institute of Economic and Social Research (LPEM) shows that it takes only 80 days (57 working days) and all Indonesians know it can take even shorter, less than 14 days. If you are really in hurry can even have everything done in one week – with some additional budget and help of professional notary service. So, I personally think some government offices are functioning here fairly well and definitely not as bad as described in some official reports.
Of course there are number of bad examples of corruption in Indonesia such as the one that results in loss of lives, state funds or unfair judgement. However, not everything considered as corruption is all bad and some kick-back just helps to go quicker through all the red tape. Unfortunately, with limited funds a service of a government official can be very slow, thus clearly there are two sides to this story and my point of view is obviously not objective.

8. Dynamic business environment.

Indonesia's Economic growth accelerated to 5.1% in 2004 and reached 5.6% in 2005. The most interesting is that markets here are still relatively unexplored and full of opportunities. It's definitely not easy to do business here due to number of factors, but if you happen to succeed the potential revenue is substantial. Considering the big population, consumer attitude, richness of natural resources I believe Indonesia has a huge potential and it is definitely good place to invest.
Furthermore, Indonesia has number of highly skilled people in various areas, such as IT, art, mining etc. My focus is mainly in IT and I already noticed how highly skilled Indonesian programmers can be. It's interesting to know that Indonesia has one of the largest Java (programming language) user communities in the world and many local Java programmers able to work on most difficult Java projects - I believe the popularity of this language has lot to do with its name. Indonesia is actually a very good place for outsourcing and I myself managed to outsource several IT project to Indonesia with a successful result. I hope more will follow and one day Indonesia will be as popular destination for outsourcing as India. Unfortunately, Internet connection is still extremely expensive here, but I believe it will eventually get cheaper.

9. Domestic servants.

Ability to hire domestic servants is one of the significant advantages of living in Indonesia. An average monthly salary of a maid who can take care of your house of apartment can be around 100$ a month - if they work at apartment usually they take care of few apartments to make more profit. Driver's monthly salary can be in range of US$150 plus overtime. Clearly it does not cost much to hire domestic servants in Indonesia. Their work make our lives lot easier and saves us lots of precious time.
Certainly, presence of domestic servants in Indonesia is caused by poverty and overall it is quite sad. Yet, I personally think that considering high unemployment in Indonesia, giving job to people is always a good thing, even if it is job of gardener, house keeper or security guard. Just make sure you appreciate their work and help them in some ways i.e. by supporting education of their children.

10. Low cost of living.

Indonesia can be very cheap place to live and if you have foreign source of income you'll definitely enjoy staying here. The gasoline is extremely cheap if compared to Europe (only around US$0.5 per litre). Food at restaurants is also lot cheaper than in neighbour countries and extremely cheap if compared to Europe or USA. Property is also not too expensive (yet) and if you're a smoker you can buy very cheap cigarettes.
Clearly, Indonesia is a very interesting place to live and now you probably understand better why some foreigners decide to live in Indonesia. Simply speaking it is a beautiful, dynamic country with fantastic people. Definitely a great place to live, invest and enjoy your life.


w said...

Marek, thanks for the list, glad to know you are enjoying indonesia. i'm interested in the UNESCO heritage sites as well as merdeka coffee! where is merdeka coffee?

cheers, wicak.

Anonymous said...

Yes, for once there are some good points of living in Indonesia. As Indonesian who doesn't live there anymore, I find myself missing my country terribly. Thank you for pointing those positive things out.

Unknown said...

Good post. Indonesia is an awesome place to explore. Just don't expect the convenience of big cities if you stay in a place other than Jakarta.

My origin is from Bali, and only return to that beautiful island once per year. What I like the most is the people. And I am impressed about how well they can integrate their daily way of living with the nature.

Anonymous said...


thanks for giving Indonesia such a credit.

i wish everyone could hear your thoughts, not just believing what media told them.

Thank you so much

Anonymous said...

hello Marek, nice post again (sorry for my poor english). But to be honest, I don't know If I should laugh or cry when I read it. Start from number 6, all of that happened because KKN as you wrote at number 7. Believe me what you will get from number 7 is disaster, just look again to number 6 (which is Indonesia nowadays).
Number 9, it's just another phrase for slavery :)) what you'll get with that salary for a month in jakarta ;) and you got that right again at number 10, truly low cost living for expats and foreigners and several filty-rich indonesians, but not for indonesians, hehehehe.
Thanks marek your post keep awake me about how we should not give-up to reborn this republic.

Marek Bialoglowy said...

Good point Jodi. I was actually really looking forward to someone sending this type of comment. Poverty is a serious problem here as much as corruption and you are definitely right that all this servants thing come out of poverty. However, please explain me what expats should do. If they fire all house servants and do all the work by themselves will this solve the problem? I don't think so. FYI, I think many expatriates are actively involved in fighting poverty in various ways. Some act on their own by helping kids, families, their servants etc. while others do lots of charity wrok through clubs such as Rotary, Lions etc. Anyway, what would you propose to add to the list? What do you think is worth to communicate to foreigners interested in Indonesia as positive aspects of life here.

Anonymous said...

How could you forget about BINTANG?!

Alo Ngero said...

really interesting blog about indonesia. Have you ever share your story and experience in this website too?

Pojok Hablay said...

try the "kopi aroma", you're going to love it. it's in Bandung.

However, I can tell you at least 1 best thing of staying in Poland. I feel like a first class celebrity, where people always look at me, from the youngest to oldest people, always smile at me, although they tend to affraid to talk to me. Maybe because of my skin and they are not often to see people like me? (I was visiting north part of Poland)

Marek Bialoglowy said...

I'll try this "kopi aroma" when I visit Bandung. I'm not surprised that people in Poland were all looking at you. There are still very few immigrants there, thus Poles find all Asian tourists as something very interesting. I really hope more Asians decide to move to Poland.

Old Monkey said...

Charity Work? hahaha ....
Lol :) When I was working in Indonesia in the 'Big 4' firms, I told my immediate boss that this is really funny that a big firm like this didn't have activity to help the poor especially when we all knew that Indonesia is a poor country. Really Really sad! When you see the CEO comes to work with his new BMW whilst the others are struggling to survive.

It's a shame!

Anonymous said...

Hai Marek.
The Expats has done nothing wrong for this situation, and what you told me about their initiative to help servant's family was awesome. I appreciated a lot and I've been hear that too. So please...don't fired them :)

As for poverty and corruption, the guilty charges is the one and only Indonesia's Goverment, they all guilty. But I never gave up hoping 'the right man in the right place' will show up and clear up all this messed.

And for the list, I prefer not to change it. Because it's origin from your point of view and experience as the Expats.
Me and other indonesian reader can learn how the Expats is looking to our country from their origin point of view, like you did.
OK Marek, thanks for your reply :)

Unknown said...

Marek: I was drawn to your blogs when searching for info regarding the flood in Kelapa Gading. But here I am, reading your wonderful post regarding Indonesia; and I was frankly quite amazed on how you can write about what I've always thought as some of the negative aspects living in Indonesia with such a positive attitude. I really enjoyed this post! And now if those flood water could just recede, so my parents could go back to their home in Kelapa Gading... Regards from San Jose.

Anonymous said...

frankly speaking.. those are true.. either positive or negative aspects.. and i believe that you wrote in a very positive way, marek.. heheh..
this also makes me think to write down some list of top 10 best living in holland. hahaha. fairly enough yah?..

Anonymous said...

WoW WoW WoW......I'm Indonesian and sure you know Indonesia more than I do or at least you much more appreciate it than any of indonesian would do.....thank you so much it just gave me reasons why I should keep my citizenship here^^

Asep Setiawan said...

Wow I miss Indonesia so much since I have been away for one year more..

Anonymous said...

Very interesting for your list no. 7 regarding document or setting up the legal entity in Indonesia, perhaps the 80 days that was quoted by UI LPEM is for PMA or FDI ( Foreign Direct Investment ). But for local PT or company, basically you can get it within a week. Again as you mentioned you can buy these services n save time and headache. I was posted in Jakarta for seven years (1994-2001) and I miss Indonesia very much. I hate winter with icy road, bitter cold, scraping ice on windshield, have to warm your car earlier etc etc. Allergy problem in Spring...Well every where we live, we has these advantages n disadvatages..we should be thankful for what we have..we are so blessed with so many things... Cheers !

Anonymous said...

Thank you for saying good things on my country...

Reza de Bhro said...

Thank you guys. Indonesia is not that bad as shown by foreign media

Anonymous said...

Jakarta may be a cheaper place to live compared to Europe, but tax-wise, it is expensive. I'm comparing Indonesia with Singapore.I don't know how the tax system works for expatriates, but if you were earning a salary equivalent to Singapore Salary, you would end up spending 6 times more on the tax in Indonesia.

Rennie said...

Thanx for the list.. Two things that Indonesia lack of were... Marketing and Image Building. Singapore and Malaysia had massively promoted their Tourism and other sectors simultaneously, despite the fact that Indonesia had much more to offer. If we speak about tourism, there are only two things that attract people to come: Marketing and Image of the Country. Indonesia only count on their ex-visitors to tell their friends and relatives good things about Indonesia. Being 'free rider' like that, tourism in Indonesia had been surprisingly crowded. I wonder.. If most Indonesian speak English and French and internet savvy, maybe the figures of Tourism in Indonesia would be much bigger and ofcourse, a lot of people like Marek would spawn here ^_^... Best regards from Jogjakarta, Never Ending Asia =)

Anonymous said...

Don't forget the handsome Javanese guys........

Anonymous said...

hi marek...

You are inspirational..
i accidentally read your blog and so impressed with your experience of living in Indonesia...
Hope you have a really great time in Indonesia...
Viva Indo! ^_^

vinna kartika
semarang-central java-Indonesia

Anonymous said...

Dear Marek,

I came to hit your Blog through google. I was just curious to know the sources after receiving an e-mail from a friend of mine "copy n paste" method: "Top 10 best of living in Indonesia".

Let’s try to speak in Bahasa (you have been in Indonesia for quite some times, haven’t you?). Senang sekali dapat mendengar, mengetahui dan menyimak kembali keadaan di tanah air, apalagi dari seorang asing yang berdomisili di Indonesia. Kelihatannya suatu proporsi yang berimbang apabila dibandingkan dengan berita media nasional maupun internasional. Pada umumnya media setempat, dimana saya berdomisili lebih banyak menyorot kepada bencana alam, apabila ada.

Saudara benar, saya salut dan angkat topi terhadap para expats khususnya dan warga asing pada umumnya yang berdedikasi tinggi untuk membantu bangsa saya, meskipun dimulai dengan taraf pendekatan paling bawah dan paling dekat serta mudah dicapai, yaitu hubungan dengan pembantu, tukang masak, tukang kebun, pengemudi dst. Saya yakin, yang penting sebenarnya adalah perhatian yang diberikan. Sebab itu, saya juga senang mendengar bahwa Pemerintah Indonesia memberikan kesempatan kepada orang asing lanjut usia untuk tinggal di Indonesia. Rupanya Pemerintah Indonesia paham benar, hasil riset menunjukkan bahwa orang diatas umur 50 tahun mempunyai tendensi untuk beramal (mental charity) lebih tinggi daripada ketika mereka berusia muda. (Well, a kind of “preparation” before meeting the Creator. Right?).

So, Saudara Marek, just enjoy the time being in Indonesia, but please do not stay/stick there longer than necessary. After spending several years in Indonesia, my husband feels so miserable if he does not visit Indonesia once a year. For some people it is a waste but for my husband it is a must. For me, it is just insane: so many nice places in the world to be explored.

Once, I will and I have to go back where I belong: waktunya untuk saya menikmati hidup ini: punya pembantu, punya tukang masak, punya tukang kebun, punya pengemudi – profesi-profesi yang harus saya rangkapi sekarang ini. Yap, I also have to bring money home! Life abroad (in Germany) is well secured, but sometime it is so cheerless. U huh u huh uuuuu. (It was not a cry but a challenge!).


Anonymous said...

Thanks, positive point of view, In these days I rarely have that in my mind

Anonymous said...

dear marek,
thank you for positive credits of indonesia.
and i hope you'll be pleased, i've put this article at my site,
best regards

Anonymous said...

nice post,
I agree with ur opinion on 'coffee shops' part;-)

Anonymous said...

I deeply agree with you, as I found Indonesia one of the most fantastic places I've been ever. Amazing sites, amazing people. Concerning those 'terrorists warnings' issued by western embassie I also agree with your position. In fact most of these warnings are clearly biased against the less developed countries. As an example I come from Spain, and the number of bombing attacks per person here (there are bombing attacks by Al-Qaeda, and also by the basque armed groups) is by far much higher than in Indonesia, on a pure statistical basis. There were even bombing attacks right in the Madrid International Airport a couple of years ago (in an airport!!!). But when you go to this travel warning pages they always say 'Spain: pretty safe" and on the other hand "Indonesia: high risk". I find this a really hipocrite warning, that only causes havoc in the already weak economies of countries such Indonesia, etc...

Anonymous said...

Hi Marek...
Thanks for your opinion of Indonesia. I also believe that wherever we live, we will find positive and negative points. The problem is on us, how we consider the condition. Even very bad thing happened, it will be good if we look at the positive side, and you are this kind of person. I believe that you will always your life everywhere and happy there. Once, thanks alot for your nice thought about Indonesia.

didaskalos said...

Nice article! I would like to know where in Indonesia you can get the coffees and teas you mentioned. Are there any particular mall, markets, or outlets you recommend?

Ari said...

Nice post bro

tya said...

thxfor this post
nice blog...

piere said...

good article

Abdulhayy Johnson said...

Marek, your posting is beautiful and well written, I've never lived there but I enjoyed reading about life in Jakarta. I read another article a few weeks ago that was nothing but negative toxic hysteria, it sounded exaggerated and made me think that something was probably wrong with the attitude of the author causing them more misery. You on the other hand have shown us through your article that your positive outlook and pleasant attitude has contributed greatly to your experience in Indonesia, as well as your relationship with its people. I commend you on your efforts to help those less advantaged individuals, to build bridges, and to leave a good impression. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

It sounds like everyone should live in Indonesia at least once during their lifetime.
I am very interested in going there and helping the people with their poverty situation. Have been there once on a cruise ship and am planning on going next year on vacation. Will look at Bali as a possible place to live at some point. Absolutley loved it the day i was traveller......

Unknown said...

Great article Marek! I have been living in Hawaii for the last 5 years originally from Canada and I love warm climates as well. My visa is almost up (June) and I am very seriously looking at living in Indonesia next. I work as a Network Administrator in Honolulu currently. How difficult is it to get work for foreigners in Indonesia? I surf all the time and know the surf there is amazing, that is another reason among many to draw me to Indonesia. Aloha, Brett.

me said...

its been posted for years, but i still find this interesting, that a foreigner put a list of positives in indonesia, where most of its people actually have becoming more pessimistic towards their government :)

if i may, i'd put an 11th to the list: indonesia is a hiking paradise with lots of mountains and volcanoes, even just miles away from jakarta.

Marek Bialoglowy said...

Totally agree with your comment on hiking around Jakarta, it's also great place for trail running.

Anonymous said...

You forgot to mention about health care in indonesia. What do you think for people who have health problems? Would they be able to get good treatment?

Anonymous said...

Hi..just know your blog, I thought you are just an IT freak, talking and thinking about bits and bytes..hahaha..

A good friend of mine who is ex President Director of LKBN Antara said that Indonesia really needs a good news. A news that give positive impact to Indonesian people, not such as corruption, crime, terrorist, etc. And I fully agree with him.

Appreciate much that you wrote a view that force people, expatriate or local, to re-think and reset their negative view about Indonesia, such as bombings which are happened in many countries, as well as corruption and crimes.

Talking about corruption, I agree that it is wrong, but however it damages our own nation..not other nations. Comparing to the "financial engineering" that was happened in USA, created by major financial institutions and by brilliant people (who might have receive prestigious awards, man of the year, etc)..then what some Indonesian people do with corruption is still nothing.

It would be very long hard work to remove corruption and poverty from is like our war to have our independence on August 1945, hundred years of war. Just let you know that Indonesian take its independence, it is not given, such as some of neighbor countries. So, we will take it again.

Indonesian good people don't like to boast their capabilities, they keep silent such as diamond on the mud until you find it. This is because of our culture, mainly Javanese

Again, really appreciate for your view about Indonesia.

Merry/Mei/Abhi said...

Great Post.

And I'd love to thank u for generous comment about my contry.

Meirina Alwie

shawn said...

Interesting views. A couple f points...
- My all time favourite are the people.
- You say about a beautiful area... "unfortunately not developed for mainstream tourism"... Tourism has totally ruined some areas - we need very carefull progress.
- the word Servant... Sounds like to supression. Good to respect people and call the work they do by the name... Housekeeper, child carer, etc. Thanks for sharing.

abe sahrani said...

Ah..finally, there're plenty reason from different perspective. Glad to know that you're enjoy living in Indonesia.

We welcome you...:)

Paman Monyet said...

I just wanted to add something to the "smile & nod" comment in the original post. I have spent a considerable amount of time in relatively "bule-free" areas with little to no english, I had no guide or translator, and was spending my time walking the plantations, finding a national squatting under a tree, and joining him (who knew not a single word of english) to try to learn more Bahasa Indonesia (or more likely sasak or madurese). Many - including the locals - say I am crazy to hit Indonesia, hire a sepeda motor for a month, and just head off with no clear idea of where I would be spending the night. To them I say how else would you want to see this country? Never once felt threatened or endangered, the only crime I came across was on my last night losing the bandana I had tied to my motorbike so I could recognise it in a sea of 100 identical ones.

Anyway, once I'd learnt the words for wife, married, single, etc, I soon became adept at recognising when to put a cap on the "smile and nod" response, as it turned out many such conversations were edging towards me being offered somebody's daughter or cousin. So by all means smiling & nodding and general politeness goes a long way here, but be sure to learn enough words so you can guess at the direction the conversation may be heading.

Oh one last comment - If you want to feel and be safe on the roads, you better learn quickly how to drive/ride like a local. We found that by trying to ride safely the way we would in Australia, we were actually endangering ourselves and others. Don't ask me how or why, but the chaos on the roads actually works really well.

Anonymous said...

I really really grateful to God for still there a people are love my country, although she/he aint a Indonesian. Sorry for my bad english
And to Marek,, thanks a lot for your post (from all ours).

web statistics