Stereotypes are generalizations about a group of people, where certain characteristics are given to all members of the group, regardless of the variations that exist in its members. Stereotypes can also be interpreted as perceptions or attributes that we associate with certain groups. It will be wiser if we face certain stereotypes.
It might cause bad effect for Indonesia itself or even yourself. That is why it is important not to make a kind of generalization or perception before knowing the real. Here are the examples of stereotype in Indonesia.
- Indonesians are mostly poor
Most of foreign people judge Indonesians are mostly poor. Poverty, unemployment, rural life is the bad stereotype for Indonesians. However, the judgment that most of Indonesians are poor is not true. The country has much developed into great country. Even more, Indonesia also has strong economic growth. It also positioned as one of the highest DPs in Asia.
- Indonesians are always late
The next stereotype for Indonesians is the judgment that most of Indonesians are always late. Making an appointment to someone in Indonesia is sometimes stressful. While you date or make an appointment with Indonesians, they would be probably late in several minutes even hour. It is because the time in Indonesia is very flexible. When they say it should be at 7, that means at 7.30 or even more. However, it is not always true. There are also still many Indonesians that use their time wisely. It is just the bad stereotype.
- Bribery is a common thing
You might have heard that all the things in Indonesia can be resolved by money. Most of people would likely to say bribery in Indonesia is a common thing. Moreover, corruption rate in Indonesia is categorized as high. In public service for example, the bribery case would easily happen. The reality is not all of the problem in public service could not be solved with bribery. It is better not to practice bribery in every case you have.
- Most of Indonesians are uneducated
The next judgment for Indonesians is uneducated. You might think moost of Indonesians are poorly educated. There are not many smart people. In fact, most of Indonesians continue their study in university. Many of them are well educated. Moreover, some of the best school or university in the world are located in Indonesia. The judgment that Indonesians are uneducated is totally wrong. Some of talented people in the world come from Indonesia.
- Practicing Radical Islam
This is very common stereotype for Islamic people in Indonesia. Terrorism in Indonesia is truly bad. There have been many cases of terrorism happened in Indonesia. The most severe is bomb tragedy in Bali in 2002. Dozens of foreign tourists became the victim. In fact, there are just a number of Indonesians that practice radical Islam. Most of Islamic people in Indonesia are well behaved. Do you remember that Indonesians are multicultural country? This is it. Although Islam is the major religion in Indonesia, it doesn’t mean most of Islamic people here practice radicalism.
- Development of Islamic Finance in Indonesia
- Islamic Celebrations in Indonesia
- Indonesian Islamic Art Museum
- Bad traffic system
Most foreigners who have visited Indonesia will say Indonesia has a very bad traffic system. Two-direction road is sometimes stressful. If you are a tourist in Indonesia, you might be afraid of driving in Indonesia. Moreover, there are many motorbike riders with bad attitude. You will also find your driver drives fast in a crowded place. In fact, traffic system in Indonesia is getting better today. There is no more two-direction road. However, you need to be very careful if you drive your car by yourself here.
- Breaking the public rule is a common thing
If in western you get used to everything in a very good order, you might think in Indonesia is different. Most foreign tourist would say that the rule in Indonesia is very flexible. That is why many people break the rule to get the ease in doing something. Especially is, traffic rule. Motorbike riders or car driver in city of Indonesia get used to ignoring traffic lamp, stopping in banned area, even driving too fast. Then, littering is everywhere. Actually, not all of Indonesians like to break the rule. There are still many numbers of people who like to obey the rules.
- Indonesians are too extrovert
This stereotype is very common in foreigner’s thought since they see many people in Indonesia are brave enough to ask many things to a stranger. While in western asking “hello” or “hi” is enough. In Indonesia they would probably little bit curious by asking, “Where are you going?” or even they will ask you, “Where have you been?” You might think people in Indonesia wants to know that much for others business. It is not something like that actually. It is just like a culture that most of Indonesians like to become very friendly to everyone. So don’t judge that much.
- Most of Indonesians are typically slow
This label usually given to the public service, waitress/waiter, hotel staff, or other profession related to the service. Some foreigner would say Indonesians are slow in doing something. It is a contrast to western culture which likes to do a really fast service. That is why this stereotype is very common for Indonesians. Actually, you can’t generalize that all of Indonesians are typically slow. You might find they could work really fast.
- Speak bad English
If you go to big city in Indonesia, you might find not many Indonesians speak good English. Although English is learned in most levels of school, the judgment that Indonesians speak bad English is very common. As the example, while you ask for a direction or something to random people you meet on the street, they would probably be confused to answer in English. In fact, there are many Indonesians are very good in English. You can take an example of the seller in Bali, driver, or even hotel staff there. They are prepared to speak to foreigner, so they could speak English fluently.
- Indonesians are Javanese and Balinese
If you visit Indonesia, you might think they just consist of Balinese or Javanese. Meanwhile, the fact is Indonesia consists of thousands islands and tribes that you couldn’t event count. This judgment seems real because the most populated island in Indonesia is Bali and Java. That is why you can see Balinese and Javanese people are everywhere.
- Most of foods are unhealthy
Have you ever eaten catfish on a really deep fry? If it is yes, you might think how much cholesterol before eating. However, the taste is very delicious right? Or you might think how Indonesians could have dinner by eating really much portion fried rice with a lot of side dish. Even the most delicious food called rendang, you might be curious of how it made. In fact, you can still find lots of healthy food in Indonesia. Local salad called pecel as the example. It is healthy since many vegetables on it.
After reading the passage, now you have realized that not all stereotypes toward Indonesia is true. I think every one of us must have been a victim and also a stereotyping agent. Be careful with excessive stereotypes, this can lead to discriminatory behavior.