What are the similarities between Indonesian and American culture?
On the surface, we look, talk, and sound different. Yet there are many similarities between Indonesian and American.
1.Size. Both are big countries with different culture in different part of the countries. What you encounter in Jakarta will be very different from what you encounter in Papua, or even its neighbors, Jawa Barat.
2.Consumerism. We tend to spend more than we save or even what we earn. We are very easily swayed by marketing and advertisement. Using branded items are seen as highly desirable among people from all social class.
3.Generosity. US people give a lot to charity. While we don’t give as much to charity but people are very ready to help out their friends, strangers, beggars, and other people. Strangely, the poor and lower middle class people in Indonesia are the most generous from what I’ve observed. (they casually can give Rp 10.000 to beggars & they are ready to help neighbors in need. If there’s news on social media about someone needing help they quickly help. The latest news is about a woman whose food stall was raided during Ramadhan. The accumulated donation for her amount to Rp 200 million in a couple of days. Considered that our salary is very low (Minimum wage is around Rp 3 million/month) that’s very generous.
3.Openness & friendliness. Although we are more reserved in outward appearance, we are very open and friendly to newcomers. (Yes, it’s not so much at small cities/ remote regions but the same can be said about Americans). Maybe because we are …
4.Melting pot. USA and Indonesia are melting pots of people from various religions, races, and tribes. Indonesia itself is comprised of hundreds of native tribes and ethnicity. There are also newcomers from around the world such as Middle East, China, and India.
5.Religious fundamentalist. Unfortunately, Indonesia is still pretty much held hostage by religion. USA has Christian fundamentalists trying to pass stupid laws, denying climate change, and other silly beliefs. Indonesia also has religious fundamentalists with silly unscientific beliefs, trying to control the country and pass stupid laws. People protest mosques in USA and people in Indonesia protest and close down churches.
6.Religious tolerance. Despite the fundamentalist and intolerance in some places, there is rising tolerance and understanding of the importance of dialogue between various religions.