You Must Be A Newcomer to Indonesia If...
- You actually consider using the hasn't-been-washed-in-weeks towel in a public bathroom to dry your hands.
- You stocked up on Marlboro at the arrivals hall duty free for $15 a carton, only to find you can buy them for $5 a carton in the shops.
- You already bought fake Mont Blanc pens from 3 different people because you don't know Indonesian for "no thanks", and you're not even out of the airport yet.
- You imagine the taxi driver will give you a discount because you helped push the car when it broke down on the toll road.
- You think the warung with the 2 metre wide Guinness advert sells Guinness.
- Your wife asks the maid to go out and buy a box of tampons, and the maid has absolutely no idea what she's talking about.
- You wonder where the news sellers keep the girlie magazines, because the "top shelf" seems just like all the others.
- You think red traffic lights mean you have to stop.
- You bet the kids you can spot a truck with tread still on its tyres before they can. No one wins.
- You ask what the legal drink-drive limit is, and are told "It depends how drunk you are. Around Rp 100,000 should be enough.
- The classic: you think bule is a polite word for 'white people'.
- You spend ages looking for the Indonesian word for "toilet paper/tissue", finally find it and say to your servant: "Bisa tolong minta kertas tipis untuk toilet?" and she answers: "Oooo tisu, Mam?"
- You wonder what on earth goes on inside those buildings marked "cat oven" (Is the food safe?).
- You think it is remarkable that every neighborhood in Jakarta and every village you pass in the countryside seems to have a doctor with the rather unlikely name of "Dr. Gigi" (Do they all look a bit like Eva Gabor?).
- You think that walking or jogging from your apartment in Senayan to your office in Kuningan is an excellent idea.
- You still treasure the concept of a COLD beer.
- You think "Hello mister!" is a little local "colour" and not in the least annoying.
- You think Hello Mister and is a friendly greeting, and perhaps an opportunity to meet a "local"
- You consider the mistake in your bar bill genuine ...
- Mr. 'Menara' must be somebody so rich to own so many tall buildings ...
- Someone changed the TV channel 7 times in the last 10 minutes and you didn't notice.
- You're a girl, and you don't own any size 8 black trousers or 2 cm-thick-cup bras.
- You think around 30% of the female population of Jakarta are nuns.
- The very first Indonesian words you learnt were "Kenapa semuanya selalu terlambat?"
- You've seen 5,000,000 cars and 10,000,000 motor bikes, but never yet seen a gas station.
- You ask to see the ojek driver's insurance certificate before you'll ride with him.
- You think when the girls smile at you it means they want your body.
- For guys ... you wonder why your secretary looks so ready to throw herself at you after you ask her: "Could you copy this file darling?" (only because you can't bloody remember what her name is!)
- You think that for the price you pay for telephone calls ... that you will get a good service.
- You think that the indonesian language is called "bahasa".
- You spend ages looking for words such as "mencari" in your dictionary **
- If ... you end up trying to put water in your car tyres (air in Indonesian means water!)
- You're struggling to get your mind around the concept of kopi musang, when you are introduced to the concept of durian gajah (Sumatra, 1977)
- You try to use the hot water from your bathroom tap to make a cup of coffee in the morning.
- You go out at the weekend looking for a nice park to take a walk/play ball in ...
- If you think you needn't pay after a tukang semir has unfortunately
"smeared" your sneakers.
Satisfaction is not part of the equation in business undertakings ... you must pay for any service
rendered without regard to its consequences.
- If you think the little food items the waiter brings to your table (aside from what you ordered ) are free.
|Indonesian - Bahasa Indonesia||English - Bahasa Inggris|
|tisu||facial tissue and/or toilet tissue|
|cat oven||cat - paint, baked on auto paint!|
|menara||tower, common name given to office buildings|
|Kenapa semuanya selalu terlambat||Why is everyone always late!|
|bahasa||language (Bahasa Indonesia is the Indonesian language)|
|mencari||to look for something/someone|
|kopi musang||Coffee made from beans that have been consumed and excreted from a musang (civet cat)|
|durian gajah||enormous species of durian (gajah means elephant)|
|tukang semir||person who polishes your shoes|
**Early difficulties in learning bahasa Indonesia are often related to the need to understand the structure of Indonesian words. Once you can get rid of the ter-, meng-, pem- and other suffixes and find the root word ... it's much easier to look things up in a dictionary. For example ... membuka - look up buka; mencari - look up car!
These great insights into the humorous situations expatriate newcomers to Indonesia find themselves in were written by visitors to the Expat Forum on this site.
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