When I was a kid my teacher always taught us to be proud of our country.
“We are the most friendly people,” she said.
We will always greet people (and asking personal question whether you have boyfriend/girlfriend or not, etc), even to stranger, give them the best smile and invite them to come to our house.
From my experiences to live in several places abroad, and when it comes to introduce myself as an Indonesian, I still got some questions that even the nicest people on the earth like me (Indonesian) can piss off too. Here are some of that :
Where is Indonesia?
I am not expecting every one know every country in the world. But as the 4th most populated country, I expected people to know where Indonesia is. You know China, India, Brazil but not Indonesia? And look on the map where we have an archipelago country with islands that have a really unique shape. I just think that no one should miss it.
Indonesia?? Hmm.. Where is it in Bali?
And if someone ask this question, I will be sad to know the fact that Bali is more known than the whole country. No wonder other people who live in another island in Indonesia craving for more attention from media. Is it because of their pristine beach? Hey, we have Raja Ampat in Papua too.
Do you have a shopping mall?
That was shocking question from a kid in Australia when one of my friends visited their school. It is quite sad to know that our neighbor country barely know about us. The fact that we’re the third largest country in the world makes people think of what we have is merely jungle and abundant sea. Let me tell you, shopping malls in Indonesia are in the list of the largest shopping mall in South East Asia. I am pretty sure that Grand Indonesia mall is bigger and fancier than the rest of shopping malls in Australia.
How come you can speak English so well?
Oh well, don’t you know that I learned it constantly (if not every day) for almost half of my whole life. Nowadays, the kids learning it starting from pre-school. And if I don’t speak English well, I will never be able to look at my teacher’s eyes again.
You are an Indonesian? Seriously?
Nobody can ever guess I am from Indonesia when they first met me. Chinese, Japanese, or Korean is the closest they can guess just because I have narrow eyes and light skin. That is enough for people to ask about my nationality. As the largest Muslim community, I seem like I am not the best representative of Indonesian. They figure it should be a girl who has darker skin and only eat halal food. They might forget Indonesia hasso many tribes, races, religion living together all over the country throughout the islands.
You eat rice a lot.
Forgive us that our land has beautiful rice terraces and we are proud ofour own produce. I usually eat rice for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and sometimes for snacks too. If you can’t understand it, it is fine. It’s just like I will never understand how French loves cheese so much.
Any other comments?