Practicing Your Religion
Indonesia has a multicultural society founded on tolerance and mutual respect. Organized religious groups of many denominations are likely to be found at UI, and others exist in the surrounding community. Although Indonesia has a higher rate of mosques attendance than other most asian countries, you should not hesitate to seek out opportunities to practice your religious beliefs.
Brief Description on Indonesian Customs
A light handshake and a slight bowing of the head is considered proper to greet people. It is alright to use the first name with someone of about your age or with someone younger. There are terms of respects when addressing a person such as Bapak, Mas/Bang, Ibu/Bu, and Mbak to be used with the first name (most Indonesians do not have family name). Bapak (or just Pak) is the formal form of address for senior male and Mas/Bang for men of about your age or considered unmarried. Indonesian women generally prefer the form of address Ibu or Mbak. Mbak is used for unmarried women and Ibu is for the married. Both are acceptable forms of address if you do not know a woman’s marital status.
You will find people often say, “Hai, apa kabar?” (Hi, How are you?) and then do not wait for a response. This is a polite phrase, not really a question. You can respond by saying, “Baik” (Fine).
It takes time for a close relationship to develop with Indonesians. You will have to make an effort to meet people so that friendships can develop. Most Indonesians are generally friendly, polite, and tolerant.
Do’s and Don’ts
When visiting Indonesia, visitors should observe local traditions and attitudes. Number of traditions and attitudes. Number of traditions and attitudes is:
- Though shake hand is generally accepted in social intercourse between man and woman, but number of Moslem women introduces themselves to men by nodding their head and smilling.
- Greeting traditionally is shake hand by two hands, but without holding in grasp.
- Make a phone call before a visit is polite matters.
- Shoes must be taken off before entering house or house of worship.
- In general, drink is offered to guest when visiting, receiving the drink is polite matters.
- Right hand is always used when eating, receiving something, or giving something. Right index finger should not be used to appoint a place, goods or person. Use the right hand thumb with four other fingers folded back.
- Taking photographs at house of worships is allowed, but permit to do so should be obtained first.
- Toast is not generally accepted.
- Most of Indonesian Moslems does not consume alcoholic drinks.
Things to Remember in Indonesia
It is advisable to wear modest/polite clothing, particularly for women. When you swim, wear a proper swimsuit. Do not expose your precious belongings. Take off your sunglasses while you are inside someone’s house or talking to someone.
Don’t embarass people particularly in front of public. Standing with hands on your hips while talking, particularly with older people, are considered impolite. Cover your mouth when using a toothpick.