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13 Bad Manners in Indonesia You Must Avoid

by Fifi Fitriani

There are some basic rules and guidelines that serve as Indonesian Etiquette. The etiquette that Indonesians follow through help them to differentiate between the good manners and the bad manners. The good manners can give good impression to the people around you. On the contrary, the bad manners may cause annoyance and even make you look like a bad person. Here are 13 Bad Manners in Indonesia. These manners might help you know more about unacceptable behaviours of the Social Etiquette in Indonesia.

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1. Littering on the Street

Although many Indonesians still litter the street, many others have become aware of how bad this behaviour actually is. Littering the street ruins the scenery of the surrounding environment. Also, it may cause a build up of trash that will eventually become smelly. The number of trash cans have increased to handle public littering and Indonesians are expected to throw their trash there. People who still litters are seen as uncivilised and ignorant.

2. Throwing Garbage into Rivers

Throwing garbage into rivers is an unacceptable behaviour. There are even signs forbidding people to dump their garbage in the river. Some people break the rules to the point where it becomes a Cultural Habits in Indonesia. But a lot of people have tried to throw their garbage somewhere else as to not cause flooding and unnecessary river blockage.

3. Riding Vehicles in Opposite Direction

Sometimes there are people who would ride their vehicles in the opposite direction just so they can get to their destination faster. This dangerous behaviour is actually against the law.  They might cause danger to themselves and accidents where other people could get hurt. It’s always wise to follow the traffic rules that have been set out for the safety of everyone.

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4. Parking Vehicle on the Sidewalk

Indonesians would sometimes park their vehicle such as the motorcycle on the sidewalk. The reason for this is that it is just easier to get back into their vehicle when they have to. This bad manner is frowned upon since the sidewalk is not meant to be a parking space. It causes disturbances to people who are using the sidewalk.

5. Calling the Elderly by Their First Name

It is very rude to call the elderly by their first name especially if you are not close to them. In Indonesia, treating the elderly is not the same as treating a best friend. There is a certain level of respect when treating the elderly. Upon calling the elderly, titles such as Bapak or Ibu must be used before using their first names. It is a Social Norms in Indonesia to do so. For those who are really old, you can use the term Mbah which has a similar meaning to grandfather or grandmother.

6. Shouting

Shouting is seen as a rowdy behaviour. It is best to avoid shouting in public places at all cost since there are also a lot of people around that might get annoyed by it. Moreover, shouting can make you seem uncivilised too. Indonesians prefer peace instead of the act of shouting which might cause fights to happen.

7. Cutting Off People’s Conversations

A good conversation is when people are able to freely express their opinions to each other. However, a conversation might turn sour when someone keeps interrupting when other people are talking. Indonesians are very sociable people but cutting off people’s words can be seen as rude. The best thing to do is to patiently wait for your turn to talk or learn more of Communication Etiquette in Indonesia to avoid cutting off people’s conversations.

8. Spitting on the Street

Plenty of Indonesians do this, especially men but this manner is not one to be proud of. Many people in Indonesia do not like it when people spit on the street as it seems to be unhygienic. The spit can make the streets dirty too. Moreover, spitting may accidentally get on other people.

9. Cutting Queues

Some people can’t hold themselves back to cut queues simply because they do not have the patience for it. Others may unawarely cut queues without even realising that there is even a queue. Cutting someone else’s turn is seen as impolite. Thus, many Indonesians try to be aware of the people around them when queuing as to not steal someone’s turn to move up the line.

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10. Putting Feet on Tables or Chairs

Putting feet on tables or chairs is a bad behaviour in Indonesia that even some Indonesians still do. But the truth is our feet are considered dirty and should be placed only on the ground. Tables, chairs or other furnitures are not supposed to be dirtied with feet.

11. Using Left Hand

Using the left hand to give and receive thing is rude in Indonesia. The left hand is always associated with bathroom purposes. The right hand is the good hand that is allowed to give and take things. Even if you must use your left hand for whatever reason, give a small apology for it.

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12. Talking Back to Elders

The act of listening and obeying to whatever the older person is telling you is a manner that is still strongly valued especially in Indonesian Family Values. When you disagree, you should not voice your disagreement openly. It is expected to keep it to yourself. Some Indonesians may find themselves talk back to the elders, especially in this modern age. But that is still an unacceptable behaviour in the society.

13. Cursing

Some Indonesians may find it hard to control their emotions which cause them to curse. Others may curse for the fun of it. In Indonesia, cursing in public is seen as a bad manner. It might even give off the impression that you do not have class and people can look down on you.

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Some Indonesians may still actively contribute to these bad manners in Indonesia while some are always trying to change for the better. As for visitors or tourists in Indonesia, it might be best to keep these bad manners in your mind so you can avoid doing them in public.

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