4 Indonesian Norms and Values that You Need to Know
Every place on earth has its own norms and values that everyone, especially visitors, should be aware of. As a country in the eastern hemisphere of the earth, Indonesia is known also known for its unique norms and values. If you want to learn all about Indonesia before visiting this country, you may want to learn more about those norms and values for at least two reasons.
First, you don’t want to experience culture shock when you arrive at the country. Second, you don’t want to unintentionally insult—or being insulted by—anyone when you are in Indonesia.
Generally speaking, Indonesians are quite hospitable and most tourists actually find them amiable people, but you may need to know about the following norms and values to make sure that your visit to Indonesia will be comfortable, convenient and trouble-free.
1. Just smile.
Indonesians like to see you smiling, even if there is no reason for you to smile. They will also smile at you even if they don’t know anything about you and they don’t have anything to offer to you. The communal sense of Indonesian people is so strong that they often cannot bear being individualistic, so when they pass anyone on the road or at any other places, they will smile at each other.
Smiling is often a great way to start a conversation and interaction, so smile when you want to shop and you may get a great price.
2. Know how to address people.
If you happen to stay with natives, you may need to know how to address them properly. Indonesians rarely use name only to address people for the sake of respecting them. They often use titles like Bapak or Pak for old man, Ibu or Bu for old woman, and Mas and Mbak respectively for any man and woman of the same age with yours.
You can even use those titles to address anyone whom you don’t know. So, for instance, when you want to know the location of a certain shop, you can simply ask, “Mas, can you tell me where…?”
3. Be aware of some restrictions.
There are some restrictions that you need to know when you are in Indonesia. You may want to avoid wearing too exposing clothes when walking in public areas, to kiss or hug your spouse or partner in public areas, and to put your feet on a chair or table.
There are a number of restrictions that you often need to abide by, but we can guarantee that Indonesians are not very restrictive. Even if you accidentally violate those restrictions, they don’t feel very annoyed with that.
4. Know when to take off your footwear.
At certain places, such as houses of worship and natives’ houses, you may need to take off your footwear. No one will tell you to take off your footwear when you are there, but if you see that no one in those places wears footwear, that can be a clue that you are not supposed to wear your footwear. Learn all about Indonesia and it should be easy for you to abide by its norms and values.