It amuses me sometimes when I watch some TV programmes here in Indonesia and the interviewee claimed that her pumpkin-brownies could cure autism; or that if you massage a sick kid using a frog, the frog could absorb the negative energy and the sickness from the child’s body (I think it’s more likely you’d end up with a crying kid and a very sore frog!). There are more idiosyncrasies such as those here – there are products claiming not to contain any cholesterol or that they could cure sickness from cancers to ingrown toe nails. Something that I am yet to get used to again is the way the TV stations here report deaths, rape cases and crimes in a blasé manner. Face of the deceased is often shown on TV, or rape victims being interviewed by men in the midst of a large number of onlookers.
Asians also tend to be open with aspects of their life, so you’d find TV advertisements selling sanitary pads, laxatives, or aphrodisiacs in a very open and direct manner. I guess to most of Indonesians, issues such as not being able to defecate well or having irregular menstruation, are just facts of life. Privacy is certainly not one of the ingredients in Asian communal life! 🙂
On the other hand, I find something really refreshing here. Most people here still value the sanctity of marriage. Although numerous TV programmes endlessly tell stories of divorcing celebrities, or who is sleeping with whom, the general population still value marriage very highly. I am getting used to phrases such as ‘irreconcilable differences’ in Australia – but here in Indonesia, especially within my family, we do not believe in getting a divorce. A good example would be my mum – my dad’s not the best person to live with – he’s moody, very stubborn, acutely shy, and demands attention all the time, especially after he had a stroke around 5-6 years ago. Even as I was growing up, my dad was a highly jealous guy who demanded every detail of my mum’s movement – I remember ever thinking that if my parents had lived in the western world, my mum would’ve demanded a divorce a long time ago. Apparently my mum told my fifth sister that she held on to her marriage firmly because she loved her children so much that she would never want to jeopardise her children’s wellbeing if she had asked for a divorce.
And what do I think? I also believe in the sanctity of marriage – that each party should try the hardest to make it work. When two become one, my wish or my wife’s wish does not matter as much as what we should strive for together as a unity. This is especially true when there are children involved. It’s quite sad when I hear utterances such as ‘What about me? What about my wish?’ – nobody is willing to give in anymore. That is certainly one of the hindrances why I haven’t got married at this late stage, is because I have held on to my habits and dreams very tightly thus far. I am willing to let go of some of them when I meet the right person and work for the sake of the unity. No, I don’t believe in divorce myself and I don’t judge those who are directly involved in divorces or are affected by them. Marriage is a lot of hard work!