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How to be Polite in Indonesia

Indonesia hosts hundreds and even thousands races, vernaculars, and cultural values. Among those variations, we hold cultural values which are universal. This post discusses some simple tips to be polite in Indonesia. When practicing these, no matter wherever you are in Indonesia, people will predicate you as polite person.

#1 Smiling

Wherever you go, whomever you meet, you have to keep your smile with you. This is good person refers to in Indonesians mind. Straight-faced expression is good too, but this should only be showed when you are alone. In many countries, smiling to someone you does not know is strange. In Indonesia, we smile to everyone we meet, even those who are unknown.

#2 Hand-shaking

It is uncommon for someone to hug others, even they are in close relationship - except they they are son and mother/father. Hand-shaking is more common in Indonesia to show your friendliness. If you meet your close friends, hand-shake them instead of hug. Good person is doing hand-shaking instead of hugging.

#3 Bowing

Bowing is identical with Japanese. However, we practice it too in Indonesia. Bowing is commonly performed when meeting person who is older than you. If people see you bowing to Indonesians, you will be predicated as good and polite person. This simply means you respect people you meet.

#4 Being Right-handed

If you want to pay for something you buy, eat your food, drink your water, use your right hand instead of your left hand. Using left hand such as in eating, drinking, giving or taking your money, would be treated as impolite. Being familiar in using your right hand would be a good training before you travel to Indonesia.

#5 Thank You

Wise people say 'thank you' as magic words. It is also true in Indonesia. Majority of Indonesians know what thank you means. You can simply say thank you or performing it in bahasa Indonesia by saying terima kasih, simply makasih. When you travel to Indonesia, bring your 'thank you' wherever you go and address it to whomever you meet. You will see their smile right after you perform it.

#6 Trousers and Shirt

People assess you by what you wear. Those who wear trousers with shirt, formal dress, are always believed as polite people. If you don't mind, wear Batik shirt to show that you really love Indonesia. If you do so, Indonesians would show their respect to you. Feedback such as smiling indicates that Indonesians love you.