Indonesians and Westerners part 2: Working and Living


Talking about culture differences reminds me about an old man, maybe 70 years old, he is a foreign from America, and I guess he is still teaching English in a local school in Surabaya. He told me about his life when meeting me in my former office. He laughed while telling me that he had to use the bailer to substitute shower and squatting-toilet. But what has caught me the most, that he left his two daughters in America after his wife had passed away several years before, and he earns money by working on his own. I was asking, because he said that his daughters have worked and have good finance, why they didn’t take care of their father?

He smiled, and told me that it was not a problem, because in America, people don’t care about their family if they start working and can live on their own. They’re free to choose wherever they want to go. In other words, like my tutor said about west culture, the westerners are individualistic, and they prioritize their own life and needs.

That way of life on our own kind of bothers me. Because in my culture, the people are family centered, and extended family are important and considered in decision making. As I begin to work outside of my hometown, I always think about my mom, dad, and my siblings. I often talk to them, especially my mom, and I always want to help them whenever they need me, such as helping my sister to pay her school fee. I think every worker does those things too, except those who don’t have heart. The thing is, how can we leave our family, especially our parents, the people who love and has raised us to whoever we are now?

Again, the differences of culture matter. I can understand why the westerners do that. Even when it comes to make a contact list, the westerners who are workers list the people of personal or professional import. While I, who might represent the Indonesians, list family first, then relatives, friends, and acquaintances. I wonder, do the westerners ever feel lonely because their individualism?

However, their work ethic is better. The westerners are on time and the Indonesians… maybe little late (I have to defend my people, because I do that sometimes, but I know it’s a bad habit). The next interesting thing is how the westerners treat their boss. In Indonesia, the boss is the God that should be feared. While the westerners treat the boss as a member of the company team, so they can work effectively and free to expressing their ideas. If they want to build a good company, everyone must feel enjoy at the workplace.

Working in a good and precise environment like that will obviously boost your working spirit. But sometimes working in comfortable area can make you boring. You need someone to be afraid of, some giant wall that block your way, and you feel offended and forced to fight back. Sometimes breaking a rule with some lunacy bitchiness is a tantalize excitement, no?

Anyway, I don’t know how to make conclusion of these writings about culture differences. I even don’t know if these make sense or can blow your mind. I only write my views, sometimes it’s just over thinking.  But if you have some feedbacks, critics, or any views about this, don’t hesitate to give your comments.


2 thoughts on “Indonesians and Westerners part 2: Working and Living

  1. Nice to see this note of reality :D, I agree with u edy for this sentence “However, their work ethic is better. The westerners are on time and the Indonesians… maybe little late ” we can change if we want exactly but indonesian culture it’s too difficult sould be changed. But we must being the changed for our self, work, and will be effect to this country

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