Culture clash


My current trip to Indonesia is a bit of a social journey – I haven’t really had any time to relax and enjoy my own company and have a holiday. Instead, I’ve spent a lot of time with relatives, sharpening my Asian etiquette skills and learning to appreciate the value of having such an extensive network of families.

Tomorrow will be my last day in Indonesia for the time being – on Friday morning I will fly over to Singapore and spend a night there before heading back to Adelaide. I’m back in Jakarta now, at my second sister’s house – just to spend more time with my parents and my sister’s family prior to my departure.

I left Bandung this morning and arrived in Jakarta by about midday. I didn’t get to see Yani and her relatives off this morning in Bandung, because I was stuck in a massive traffic jam outside of my housing complex. So I advised them to call a taxi, and said goodbye over the phone. Yesterday was a massive day for us – my fifth sister agreed to drive us around, so Yani, her mum, her aunt, my sister and I went around and visited several major malls in Bandung, such as Paris van Java (PVJ), CiWalk (Cihampelas Walk), and a Factory Outlet where I bought a new pair of trousers. I also bought two funny tshirts from Paris van Java that had parodies of well-known brands. Too bad I couldn’t get the ones that I really wanted because the available sizes didn’t fit me! Argh! 😡 We also went to a restaurant called Bancakan, in Jl. Trunojoyo – they served their dish in tin plates, and also served their tea in tin cups. Their delicious dishes are old-fashioned and Bandungers love them! It’s a trip back to their childhood where things were simple. If you happen to be in Bandung, give them a go – you may find a dish or two from your childhood that enables you to reminisce. 🙂

Again, spending time with my family has made me appreciate them even more – I have to force myself not to spend too much time with my computer in my room, and be out in the living room to spend time in smalltalks with my relatives and parents, because it’s something that they cherish and value. I personally don’t feel too comfortable in airing my thoughts and feelings directly and engaging in chitchats, however it is the Asian way of life. You need to be able to listen to and provide tidbits of informations and experiences that people can discuss, gossip about and build extra relationship links with one another. In western culture, we tend to be more private and subdued about personal matters. However, in Asia, you’re expected to share your joys and grievances publicly, so people can celebrate and mourn with you – through numerous interactions such as these, the relationships are established and strengthened.

Being a westernised person with Asian values enables me to see things from both worlds – it is tiring sometimes, as I need to be aware of where I am, and which tact or etiquette that I should apply. However, it is an exciting journey – I get to see the best and the worst of both cultures, and pick the ones that I find suitable for my own values. 🙂

Published by fuzz

I've finally relented to the lures of blogging - and for those who care, well, I'm a self-confessed geek who's a wanderer at heart, who thinks and analyses too much, and who's trying hard to hold on to his 7-year old inner persona.

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