Let me start this blog entry by introducing my own lovely family. My father is a full-on Javanese family man who loves to watch action movies that require no thinking (at home, we call it “bang-bang-dead” movies), a Kejawen believer, loves to eat traditional Indonesian food and many types of Italian cuisine, and spends his free time decorating “wayang orang” (“human wayang”) dancing costumes.
My mother, a Ukrainian-Australian and a Christian, is a bit of a health-freak (even though she secretly buys chocolate and sometimes doesn’t share it with me), loves watching movies that make her sob, and hogs my brother’s Galaxy Tab to play “Angry Birds”. My older brother loves gadgets, anything that turns on after you press a button, watches just about any kind of movie, and eats anything edible.
While me, I am very picky with my food. Just like my father, I am a Kejawen believer, but no, I don’t usually enjoy “bang-bang-dead” movies, I prefer documentaries.
Sometimes we can’t stand each other’s opinions. The four of us are so different: Often times we misunderstand and miscommunicate with each other, but we are a family and we love each other. The different thing about our family, compared to any other families, is that my father, my mother, my brother and I… none of us are blood related. My brother and I were both adopted at a very young age. Despite that fact, we get along so much better than some families I know who are blood related. And that is one of the things that makes me very proud of my family.
Why did I talk about my family? Well, my family reminds me a little about Indonesia. Just like my family, Indonesia is very diverse, the citizens of this country are all so different in terms of culture, religion, taste, beliefs, and race.
In my family, when it’s Lebaran, we celebrate it with the rest of our Muslim extended family members; when it’s Christmas, we celebrate it at home by eating spaghetti together. My mother, who is a Christian, never prohibited my father and I going on Kejawen rituals either. We respect and tolerate each other’s choices.
We as Indonesians are not all blood related, we don’t all belong to the same religion, we all have different backgrounds, we all have different tastes. All we have to do now is to learn how to accept each other’s differences. Stop saying that only your religion is right, don’t underestimate or think low of other people, be respectful, treat everybody as if you’ve adopted them to become your own brothers and sisters, as if they are a part of our big family.
Let’s think of Indonesia as a big family: We do have the annoying uncles, weird aunts, the crazy embarrassing relative, and immature little brothers and sisters – but respect and acceptance of differences are the keys to harmony.