This is where I’m supposed to talk about how wonderfully simple the Indonesian culture is. How their value on family is superior to American attitudes. How the discussion of religion (and they got them all here, folks) is open and not taboo. How rich their community is. How America has so much to learn and has lost a strong set of values.
I’m not going to do that.
One’s culture is what it is. There’s good and there’s bad in them all. We might prefer our own though. Indonesia has widespread corruption. The U.S. does too, but it’s just kind of forged to fit within certain laws and codes. There are parts of Sulawesi that are very dangerous. There are parts of Fort Wayne, Indiana, I wouldn’t walk in the daytime.
I, the bule (boo-lay) visitor, am also supposed to write about how much work there is to do in Indonesia. How there is a need to provide sustainable jobs. How they need to incorporate more efficient and environmentally responsible economic growth projects. How the culture of lying is so damaging to the country. I’m not going to do that either. The people here are just trying to live, just like people in the States are. They are friendly and curious, just like people in the U.S. They simply want to have a nice life, definitely like the people in the U.S. Their feelings toward the West are very complex: jealousy, respect, mockery, attraction, superiority. I guess, my feeling should be at least equal to theirs.