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Social Etiquette in Indonesia – Characteristics

by Corrimited

According to Ancient Greek, ethics is derived from the word ethikos which means “arising from habit”. Ethics is the main branch of philosophy that studies the value or quality of standards and moral judgments. Ethics includes analysis and application of concepts such as right, wrong, good, bad, and responsibility.

Ethics begins when humans reflect on elements in their spontaneous opinions. The need for reflection will be felt, partly because our ethical opinion is not uncommonly different from the opinions of others. That is why ethics is needed, that is to find out what should be done by humans. Methodologically, not every judging acts can be said as ethics. Ethics requires a critical, methodical, and systematic attitude in reflection. That is why ethics is a science. As a science, the object of ethics is human behavior. But unlike other sciences that examine human behavior, ethics also has a normative point of view. It means that ethics looks from good and bad angles to human actions.

Below will be explained some of the known etiquette applied in Indonesia.

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1. Kissing the hands of parents before doing activities outside

This behavior has become a habit for the many people of Indonesia. Since childhood, we have been taught by the teacher to kiss the hands of people older than us, especially our own parents. It’s like asking for blessings to keep our activities outside running smoothly and without any incident.

2. Saying greeting before and after entering the house

In Indonesia, the majority of people are Muslim, thus this behavior must be done because it’s already taught in their religion. And this behavior also acts as a courtesy as this greeting behavior is always done when someone wants to get out or enter into someone else’s home.

3. Apologize when making a mistake

Apologizing is a commendable deed and must be done humbly. When we make mistakes then don’t forget to apologize, but frequently people who make mistakes do not apologize and they are considered to be selfish. As they are more concerned with prestige than to apologize, but everyone must have done wrong things and need to apologize for their mistake so as not to hurt other people.

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4. Smoking in every place

Things like this often happen especially in Indonesia, as in public places people there smoking comfortably. Though this behavior is disturbing to others who do not like to smoke cigarettes thus it is not only annoying but also harmful. If those passive smokers inhaling other’s cigarette smoke then it’ll be very detrimental to their health as the effect of nicotine tar might enter their breathing system.

5. Take out the garbage and put it in its place

Lack of public awareness to throw garbage in its rightful place is what causes frequent flooding during the rainy season and the environment becomes dirty. Garbage get scattered on the streets, rivers, and lakes that should be a reservoir of water thus get clogged with all kind of rubbish when the rain comes. Many people need to get used to throwing garbage at its rightful place so as not to get unnecessary flooding.

6. Provide a place/space to people in need

Often when in public transport we see people who are still healthy that do not provide opportunities to give the seat to the needy like elderly, pregnant women, and mothers who bring children. Those who are strong and healthy seem to close their eyes and pretend not to know that someone needs the seat more. If they had been reprimanded then they’ll realize their mistake and give their seat to those who need it most.

7. Say Thank you

People can often forget to say thank you when they borrowing goods or be given help by others. Maybe it’s a trivial thing but if we thank the person who helped us or borrowed us any goods, then that person would be happy to give us their help and then feel appreciated. Thus this gratitude acts always need to be said to appreciate others who have helped you and you’ll get their help again in the future.

8. Do not cut the queue

Cutting queues is not very polite, although you may be in a hurry you still need to appreciate others who have been queuing up first. Because everyone also has their own interests and their own valuable time, therefore the attitude of queuing is imperative to be enacted.

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9. Burping in front of many people

Belching is a natural thing done by humans, but if it is done in front of many people then such behavior is not natural. It’d look rude as it might disturb other people who see you done this despicable acts.

10. No spitting

This is a very unkind, disrespectful and even disgusting behavior. The person who spit anywhere he likes is a disrespectful person and if he wants to spit out, then find the right place like a toilet.

11. Listen when others speak

When someone speaks to us, let us listen to their words till they are done. Do not ignore or disregard the person, because it is a very disrespectful behavior. This is what polite people usually do when someone speaks to them as they try to listen well.

12. Not interrupt other people’s conversation

When people are talking then we should not cut off the conversation because it is very disrespectful. Better listen to people talk when there is a chance for them to finish before we do the talking and always try not to cut off other people’s conversations as it’s considered very rude.

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13. Respect older people

As younger people, we have to respect the elderly. As it’s taught since childhood and if we are talking to an older person then the language intonation should be more polite than we are talking to our normal peers.

14. Appreciate others

If we want to be respected by others, then we must respect other people. That’s what most people would want in their social interaction. As the elder said that the easy way to being able to accepted by society is learn to appreciate other first as a person. Therefore, it can lift up the mood and make other happier than usual.

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15. Not talking while eating

Although there are so many people out there who while they are eating then they are also talking simultaneously, thus this behavior is not good. Supposedly if we want to talk, we should finish first our food then just talk.

16. Pray before eating

For a Muslim or Christian then we are always taught to read the prayer and give thanks to god for eating our meals. On the other hand, Pray is one of activities that can protect and prevent us from any bad situation which may happened or occurred when we do something.

17. Knock on the door before entering the room

This behavior needs to be done as a sign of excuse and asking for permission before entering the room. meanwhile, knocking door is one of common habits that most of Asian people do before entering someone’s house. It could be marked as greeting manners .

18. Wear polite clothing in public places

As an Indonesian society with an eastern culture, then wearing polite clothing in a public place is mandatory. In addition to maintaining modesty, it also prevents us from negative thinking.

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19. Do not visit people until late at night

It is very unkind and disrespectful if you went to someone else’s home at midnight. If you want to visit then you should choose the right time such as afternoon or evening, which does not interfere with the time of the occupants of the house resting schedule.

20. Raise your hand when you ask

When in a discussion then the behavior of raising a hand when you are about to ask something is very important to do. Do not directly speak or ask but request permission first by raising a hand.

Others known social etiquette (21-25)

Here other social etiquette which also exist in Indonesian society, as follows:

  • Do not laugh at anyone else. Most of the laughter that is rude is due to witnessing the trouble others are having.
  • Be careful with unrestrained anger that can hurt other people’s feelings. This can certainly damage or destroy relationships in any environment.
  • Respect a person who is fasting by not eating or drinking in front of them. However, due to lack of awareness, this is rarely done by people who do not fast.
  • Say hello when you meet with a person you known on the street.
  • Respect other religious people who are worshiping or celebrating their religious holidays. So that religious tolerance would increase among many people.

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Social etiquette needed to be spread so as to become a standard in doing interaction with other people in Indonesia. This is intended to create the harmonious relationship between people and also to increase social awareness between each other. By learning this social etiquette at school thus will make Indonesia children become much more understanding of their surroundings and grow up to be great people.

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