After returning from a recent trip, I took a speed read of the blogshpere. It was interesting to see the reaction to a post by Indcoup describing the lack of manners by some Indonesians when dealing others they believe below their station. A classic comment by one reader was “my colleagues in my office always say 'tolong' and 'terima kasih' to our office boys and girls, even to the janitors in our office”
What even to the Janitor?? How generous, sort of makes his point really.
Knowing my own tenous grip on life, and the somewhat irritating habit of whomever is the comic controller to throw spanner into my life when things are going well. I tend to stick to great grand pappies advice “be nice to people on the way up, you will probably pass them on the back down”
Personally, I have always found the other side of that particular coin far more perplexing. That is, the excessive Indonesian politeness when dealing with anyone perceived to be of higher(?) status. It does not seem matter how corrupt, evil or morally bankrupt that person may be. It never ceases to amaze me that when dealing with that all to common corrupt government official, even in the mist of an obvious shake down, the “shaked” will still be throwing out the “Yes Paks” with gay abandon (can you still say that??)and little concern for personal dignity.
I am not sure if this is a hang over from Javanese Culture or a hang over from the times of the “New Order” when getting on the wrong side of the ruling elite (no matter how low of the “elite” chain) could have some seriously bad consequences. Still, I can’t help but think how much more effective it would be if those corrupt parasites that are draining this country dry were greeted with a spit on the ground instead of the half bow and the simpering “Yes Pak.
Oh and I have to throw this in, even though it has nothing to do with the above post. Just listening to “The Simpsons” (Ah Fox TV!). Homer Simpson “Those Catholics, its like Simon Sez with no winner”
Catholics don’t to be offended, to be fair they went on to give everyone else a hard time as well.