Complete Information on Indonesia

Posts tagged ‘culture’

Greetings in Indonesia? No kissing!

Western people usually greet the people they meet by giving them kisses, and thanks to the technology and globalization, we are used to it. In Indonesia, even though some people have already started to do the greetings by kissing, if you do it in public spaces, you will get a weird and awkward stares from people around you. Some people even will not be happy if you kiss them. So why does this phenomenon happen?

First thing first, it is a cultural thing. As a part of Asia, which has so many cultural habits, Indonesian people usually never kiss people in front of public. When they do, the person they kiss must be a close person for them, either family or a close friend. They are not used to kiss someone as a greeting. Beware of this,  because some of them will say you are either rude, or flirtatious.

Instead, they usually do some  shake hands, a light pat or hug. For Moslems, they usually give respects to older people by doing sungkem’ or ‘salim which is done by leaning your forehead towards someone’s hand so they will brush each other slightly.

Secondly, Indonesian people, similar to most Asian, are quite conservative. They are not used to reveal their feelings towards people.  They prefer respects more than closeness. That is why some affections like kissing to greet someone is not too popular in Indonesia.

So, if you want to greet Indonesian people, you have to make sure first whether this person can accept the way you greet him or not. For some several reasons, a neutral way to greet an Indonesian is to do a handshake, to show you respect this person.

(See this video about the governor of Jakarta, Joko Widodo, who is doing ‘sungkem‘ with his mother)

(Credits go respectfully to the rightful owner)

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Always use your right hand in Indonesia

In most countries, there is no such explicit culture as ‘Always use your right hand’. People can give or take something from and to other people using any hands or both hands.

BUT in Indonesia, using your left hand when interacting with other people like giving or receiving something, is considered impolite.
Why? It is simply because the left hand is considered dirty. Which hand do you use to *pardon me* pick your nose? Which hand do you use to *pardon me* clean your buttocks?
Meanwhile, your right hand will definitely be cleaner than your left hand. Which hand do you use to eat or to pick something to eat?

This culture also goes for left-handed people. Thus, no matter that your right hand is busy and you can only give or receive something with your left hand, you have to change it to your right hand.
Furthermore, if it is impossible to use your right hand, at least you have to say “Sorry to use left hand” while you give or receive something.

(See this video below as one of the illustrations)

Of course, this goes not only for fancy dining etiquette, but also on every occasion.

(Credits go respectfully to the right owner)

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