A couple of weeks ago, I went to a small gathering at a friend’s place. I happened to be one of the only two Indonesians there; the rest were foreigners working in Indonesia. The group of foreigners started to chat about their experiences in Indonesia, and one particular guy started speaking very negatively about this country.
As I sat there listening to him talking trash about my beloved country, I imagined shoving his beer bottle up his nose, but I kept calm and put a big, fake smile on. When I finally did talk back to him, I tried to be as polite as possible.
In my experience, meeting foreigners who think Indonesians are all beneath them happens frequently.
When I was younger, the only ‘bule’ I saw everyday was my mother. Nowadays, however, I can say I see foreigners around me almost every day.
The foreign population in Indonesia is constantly growing due to the increasing amount of overseas investments. Nevertheless, it seems like some foreigners aren’t happy with the way Indonesia is. And they probably compare it to their home countries.
It’s simple. If you don’t like it here, just go back home rather than whinging, protesting, or worse insulting Indonesia, in front of Indonesians. I have lived overseas for a number of years and there were things I didn’t like about that country, but I didn’t feel that I had the right to start talking negatively about it in front of the locals.
I’ve heard that term a lot: “angry bule.” Ironically, the people who mention that term are usually foreigners themselves. They are aware that there are so many foreigners in Indonesia who are so not used to the life here. So, instead of blending in, learning new things, or helping, they are whinging over everything.
It is a big step, and sometimes a big shock, to relocate to a country much different from your own and you tend to be annoyed at almost everything. However you don’t have the right to speak so offensively about other people’s countries, wherever you are.
On the other hand, I also know many foreigners who love Indonesia so much: they passionately learn the culture, volunteer, make friends with many Indonesians, some even help out in foundations.
Instead of being angry, they go out and make a difference. And when they leave, they go knowing that they have made someone’s life just a bit better. What a wonderful legacy. From the bottom of my heart, I would love to say a very big thank you. I’m sure there are so many things that Indonesians can learn from you.
This also applies to us Indonesians. I used to be this Indonesian who was ashamed of being Indonesian. All I wanted to do was to leave from my country and live somewhere else. Yet, I learnt that being negative about everything doesn’t help.
Stop complaining about our country all the time. Think of a way to help, make an impact, make changes. Stop thinking just about yourself and look around you.
Yes, we as Indonesians are aware that this is still a developing third world country. I, too, see so many things wrong with my country, but at least please provide us with input or suggestions and help us improve our country.
We are citizens of the world. We are here to help others, not to bring each other down with words and actions.