Complete Information on Indonesia

Posts tagged ‘tourism’

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)

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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)

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