Complete Information on Indonesia

Posts tagged ‘bali’

Why Indonesian people call foreigners as ‘bule’?

There are many nicknames to call someone different that you don’t know. Like dude, dudette, pal, mate, and many others.

Uniquely in Indonesia, the people have its own term to call the foreigners like the international tourists, or even a local tourist ( local bule ).
They call them ‘bule’. Bule, from its literal meaning, actually means ‘albino’. Indonesian used it to call the foreigners especially to the white people.

While this can be seen as an offense like a racist matter, Indonesian people actually do not have ill intention when they call the foreigners that way. It’s just that any person would need to have some way to address another instead of calling others by the word “Hey” or “You there”.

Some foreigners might find this offensive and abusive as the nickname ‘bule’ tends to degrade the foreigners as non human-beings or aliens.

Most sellers in Bali do not address the foreigners as ‘bule’. They just call them ‘mister’, like in “Hey mister, come and buy this!”

Nevertheless the contradiction whether the word ‘bule’ is offensive or not, the foreigners who come to Indonesia actually have the right to call Indonesian people as ‘bule’ too, because to the international tourists, Indonesian people can be regarded as foreign people to them.

The tag of this photo is ‘”bareng bule…nice”
( “with bule…nice” )

(Credits go respectfully to the rightful owner)

‘Insya Allah’, the cliche in Indonesia

Almost all people in the hard working country like Japan or New York think that they should have everything planned out before they do it. Because they think, doing something without planning it beforehand, can be disastrous, especially when it is a crucial plan for something big.

Planning before implementing

Planning before implementing

But in Indonesia, as you might have guessed, most Indonesian people do not plan. The idea of planning something beforehand is considered ridiculous. Why? Because they believe that even though everything is planned neatly, the implementation might go awry or that the result is different from what is expected in the plan.

So, when you are in a team of wedding organizers, for example, you might be surprised with the answer “Insya Allah” even though the question demands the answer only between ‘yes’ or ‘no’. “Do you really believe we can get this stuff done on time?”. The answer to that question is only ‘yes’ or ‘no’. But often, you will hear “Insya Allah”.

‘Insya Allah’ means ‘only by God’s permission’ or ‘only if God permits’. In other words, it basically means that you let everything decided by God or by nature or fate.
It has become a cliche as it has been used so much that it has lost its real meaning.

If you ask an Indonesian to meet you the day after somewhere, most of them will not directly answer “Yes, I will come” or “Sorry, I can’t come tomorrow”. Rather, they would answer “Insya Allah”. Thus, you cannot really blame them if they do not come the day after because it is raining hard.

If you ever got asked by someone whether you can come tomorrow or not, you can answer “Insya Allah” if you are not sure.

A little comic about 'Insya Allah'

A little comic about ‘Insya Allah’

In the first box, the girl asks the green man whether he will go to a meeting or not, and the green man answers “Insya Allah”.
In the second one, the girl says “Okay, see you later then.”
After that, the girl is confused and want to ask again. In the last panel, she asks whether it is “Insya Allah yes I will come” or the opposite.

This habit of Indonesian people, let it be on purpose or not, does have a bad effect as it reflects that Indonesian people are not really people with planning. They let the nature of fate and adapt to the situation and condition. Maybe this is why Indonesian people are so panicky in most events.

(Credits go respectfully to the rightful owner)

The confusing welcome from Indonesia

When you go to other countries like the European ones or Hawaii for vacation or business purpose, you will be greeted properly and warmly.

But if you come to Indonesia, you will be greeted differently inside the airport and outside the airport.

When you  want to take your luggage, you will find it hard to find because it is so crowded and sometimes the luggages take too long to be put on the conveyor belt. But, since most tourists are taller than Indonesian people, you won’t find it that hard to locate your luggage.

Getting through the custom is a different issue. Sometimes, some tourists bribe the officer directly so they can pass through easily.
But that would waste the greeting, wouldn’t it? If you are lucky, you might have a little chit-chat with the officer. Be mindful though, because sometimes they will ask for ‘oleh-oleh’ or souvenirs.

Then, when you are finally outside of the airport, you will find the true hell. It is so loud with people chatting, car horns, and taxi drivers offering you a ride. The taxi drivers are the worst. They will pull you while offering to enter their taxis. “Taxi, Mr?”, “Taxi?”, which are said while pulling your hand or offering themselves to bring your luggages. It can really be confusing if 5 to 10 taxi drivers are doing that. They really don’t want to throw the market opportunity.

(See this video about the Soekarno-Hatta airport)

Despite all the bad things, you can still enjoy the Balinese unique carving and the Indonesian style park.


Park in Soekarno-Hatta airport

Welcome to Indonesia, where the uniqueness can be felt right from when you just arrived.

(Credits go respectfully to the rightful owner)

Souvenir, domestically cheap and internationally expensive

Who does not know about Bali, the paradise in Indonesia, the spa capital of Asia? Located next to Java Island, Bali has been a center of tourism. It also becomes the biggest contributor for Indonesia income. It is noted from Tourism and Cultural Ministry, that Bali earned 42% in total on tourism including foreign and domestic ones. In Rupiah or IDR, the number reached 42 trillion in 2012. Imagine how huge Bali impact for tourism is!

But, do you know that behind all of those income, there is an obvious fact of the two different prices for tourists? Yes, for those who come from abroad, the sold souvenir will be more expensive. Yet for Indonesia tourists, it is cheaper. Anyone knows why? Here are some explanations about it.

The currency tells everything. All foreign tourists pay bills in the dollar which has a higher value than in rupiah. Since the rate is upside down, money changers in Bali set a standard for people who are willing to exchange their currency. Some of them still prefer to use dollars to buy souvenirs. Therefore, it is seen as an opportunity to sell the stuffs with a more expensive price. In addition, foreign tourists believe that the price tag is fixed. No more negotiation or bargain. They also do not hesitate to spend their money for what they think it is worth for.

In contrary, domestic tourists are known as the expert of bargaining. It is because as the citizens of Indonesia, they already understand the process and how much the seller would mark up the price when it is sold to tourists. As the label told, the domestics will not 100% believe in the given price at first. The result is that prices on souvenirs drags to a cheaper one and of course, more affordable. For instance, a drink seller along Kuta road gives the domestic IDR 12000 (around 1,2 $US) for a bottle of Teh Botol Sosro. While to the foreign, it could be around IDR 20000 until IDR 30000 (around 2 – 3 $US) each. What you also need to know is that you have to be careful with the money-changers.

According to some sellers in Bali, they speak the truth that their income is rising high enough if the buyers are foreign tourists. The sellers could boost the price like 3 or 4 times more expensive than it should be. Surprisingly, the foreign still want to have it anyway. Other than that, the issue about different prices among domestic and foreign tourists happens because of the opportunists, in this case is the seller, see a potential chance to earn more income.

(See this video about one of the souvenirs shop in Bali having an income of IDR 3-4 million to IDR 10-11 million (around US$ 348 to 900), a fortune for Indonesian people)

Indonesian people think that the price they set is too high and crazy. But still, regardless of the price issue, tourists still choose Bali for a vacation, don’t they?

(Credits go respectfully to the rightful owner)

Bottled tea, a “Coca Cola” for Indonesian

Drinking Coca Cola is a habit that Americans have done for years for so many occasions.  The fast food franchises such as McD or KFC or any other franchises offer Coca Cola or Sprite or Fanta as the beverages. This carbonated drink even comes with the diet version of it, as if it’s not a beverage for high-calorie food.

The similar phenomenon happens in Indonesia. Many Indonesian people drink Coca Cola or other carbonated drinks when they are eating at one of the franchises.
However, their Coca Cola is “Teh Botol”. This was started with the production of ‘Teh Botol’ by Sosro Company. ‘Teh Botol’ itself means bottled tea in English. It is a sweetened jasmine tea and it is best served cold.

The background behind its first production was how to pack a tea in a simple container, which would not spill and keep the tea fresh. Tea for Indonesian, especially for Javanese people, is as important as water, thanks to the Chinese influence. As we know, to drink tea, we have to boil the water, mix the tea with sugar, and so on until we get a fresh brewed tea. ‘Teh Botol’ is a new and innovative way to serve tea. It conveniently allows everyone to enjoy tea every time, everywhere, without having to make it first.

Becoming the first tea in a different package, ‘Teh Botol’ becomes Indonesian’s favorite beverages. Even though there are now so many brands of bottled teas, ‘Teh Botol’ is the first choice for Indonesian. From a small street vendor to a luxurious restaurant, ‘Teh Botol’ is always served in every occasion.
It is rare but if the restaurant does not sell ‘Teh Botol’, you can always ask for an iced sweet tea. The taste is not too far from the ‘Teh Botol’.

However, if you come to Indonesia, you won’t see sellers offering you ‘Teh Botol’. They will always offer you Coca Cola or beer once they see that you are a “Bule” (Caucasian). In Bali, for example, the sellers will always offer you Coca Cola. Coca Cola’s price is slightly higher than Teh Botol, so they surely will get more profit. Besides, they think that Western people, especially Americans, will like Coca Cola and beer better than a usual sweetened jasmine tea.
The sellers do not offer you the ‘Teh Botol’ because Coca Cola would not want to supply them again with Coca Cola if they ever get caught selling ‘Teh Botol’ to international tourists.

But if you are curious with how ‘Teh Botol’ would taste, you don’t have to worry. Even though you can’t come to Indonesia, you can always buy it from Indonesian people. Teh Botol is also available in other package which can be shipped easily, like tetra pack package.
Or if you are in Bali, for example, befriend an Indonesian and ask him / her to buy the unique tea taste from Indonesia.

(See this video to see how ‘Teh Botol’ is made)

Now you can see the business opportunity for tea products in Indonesia, right?

(Credits go respectfully to the rightful owner)

Get on from the left, Get off anywhere

Don’t bother looking for the meaning or the source of the quote or slogan in the title, because it’s not.

In most countries all over the globe, the transportation rules are always the same.
You get on the public transportation like bus or taxi from the left side of the street, then you get off on the left side too.

BUT in Indonesia, as you probably have guessed from the title of this post, you can get off literally anywhere you want.
On the left side of the street as usual, in the middle of the street, and even on the right side of the street.
All you have to do is say “Stop” or knock the ceiling twice or thrice as a signal to the driver. Then, the driver will quickly pull over and stop.

Isn’t it dangerous?

Well, there is always a traffic jam in Jakarta no matter it is a busy hour or not, so it may be not too dangerous to get off in the middle or the right side of the street.

One thing you have to remember, though, is that when you are getting off, you should use your left leg first.
Why? Because the vehicle is not stopped at all but still going slowly. While it’s true that it increases efficiency, it also increases the danger.

(See this video below about the bus with crazy and reckless drivers)

(See this one too. I know, they are crazy, aren’t they?)

Well, at least they are fast, cheap, and good for your adrenaline.

(Credits go respectfully to the rightful owner)

Indonesian women are stronger than the men?

Everywhere in this world, everybody will agree that men are generally stronger than women in a physical context.
Men can build their bodies to increase their muscle power and thus able to lift far heavier things than women.

BUT do you know that in Indonesia, the women are actually stronger than the men?
If you are going on a holiday to Bali or other places that are not as civilized as the big cities, you will meet women who carry many things with them.
They walk with plastic bags full of stuff in both hands, in both arms, in both shoulders, and sometimes on their heads.

You can see how strong they are, right? Surprisingly, some of these women are already old, but they still have the strength. Is it the strength of will?
I can’t imagine and never actually see men lifting their stuffs like that, though.
(See how cruel life is for these people who work as ‘lifting worker’ and get very little money)

(Credits go respectfully to the rightful owner)

Money-changer or Money-scammer?

When you come to Indonesia, one of the most important things to do is to change your money into ours in the Money-changer for doing transaction.
Some famous, high end places accept foreign currencies, but generally Dollar, Australian Dollar, Pound sterling, Euros, Yen, Won, you name it, have to be changed into IDR or what Indonesian called “Rupiah”.

The pictures below are the Rupiah coins and bills. For the coins, the mostly used are the IDR 500 (US $0.05) and IDR 1.000 (US $ 0.10), while the mostly used bills are the red one of IDR 100.000 (US $ 9.70) and the blue one of IDR 50.000 (US $4.85).

You must get really familiar with the Indonesian currency, because often people get confused to see the numbers and doing maths in their heads to count the money rate, which is as of the date, the money rate determines that you can get IDR 9.700 for US $1.

Ironically, Bali, the most visited exotic tourist destination, and of course other places in Indonesia, is not clean of scammer. They are lurking in daylight and night time, 24/7, targeting unfamiliar and unexperienced tourists. They are the Money-changer themselves.

The Money-changer, the place that should be the ‘cleanest’, free of scam, is actually the place with the most scammer. They utilize the tourist’s need to change the money currency and guide them to their trap by the words like “Authorized” and “No Commision”. The scam is to sneakily take the money when the Money-changer guy is counting the money.

Solution? Choose the better, legal place like the ones in the airport if you don’t want to risk losing money.
Or, if you have to change your money in one of them, observe closely and carefully, don’t fall to decoy or misdirection, and count the money all over and over again.

(See this video below about the Money-scammer or fraud in Bali done by the what-so-called “Authorized” Money-changer)

(Credits go respectfully to the rightful owner)

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