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5 good reasons for living in Indonesia

Hi,

if someone asks you the best reasons for making the choice to live and stay in Indonesia, what would be your top 5?

Thanks in advance for participating,

Julien

Tough one.

The people are really friendly
The food is fantastic
There is loads to see and do
You, on an expat salary can have a fantastic standard of living
Very little crime in most places

I'll try to think of more when I'm awake.

i go with mas fred words

+ flexible culture, its up to the people to follow :)

hahaha... very hard to explain

It's only difficult because there is so much good here.
Of course, there is bad as well, but that's tiny when compared with the good.

My bubur ayam was amazing this morning.

For me

The lifestyle, the weather, the beaches, the geology and range of nature in the country and of course the wife

It is simply impossible to formulate a reasonable and remotely accurate assessment of Indonesia as a whole when we all (both foreign and locals) are obviously influenced by what area of Indonesia we live. 

Tom, you views and opinions have been formed by years of living as a rice farmer in northern Sulawesi…this according to your profile.  That is a night and day difference from the average or typical expat experience in Bali or Jakarta where the vast majority of foreign expats live.  This country has more diversity (including the cultural origins of its people) than any other country on earth. 

Making general comments about Indonesians as being dishonest, corrupt, or friendly only when they want something is entirely unfair and totally inaccurate, but understandably your views have been formed by your own personal and limited experiences.

And this leads me a question that I always ask an expat, be they long or short timers who express similar views to yours…why stay if things are so miserable for you? 

IMHO, and this is based on my own 24/7 living in Ubud, Bali for the past 15 years, any expat that moves to Indonesia with the expectations that things here are going to be…(or should be) like they were/are back home doesn’t belong here.

Tom, I’ll begin my reply where you ended your response, “because this excludes change.”

The way I view expatriate life in Indonesia, we as foreigners are guests in this country and it isn’t up to us to effect change…rather, as a sovereign nation, that is first and foremost up to Indonesians.  I guess nothing bothers me more than when outsiders and outside nations try to put pressure on Indonesia/Indonesians to “be like us/me.” 

Your own home country of Germany also has plenty of problems with corruption as you surely must be aware, and this certainly has been well covered recently by the German press.  My home country of the USA is similarly not without its own corruption at some of the highest political and government levels. 

I agree that this site should be helpful to newcomers, and we long time expats should be as objective as possible in the accuracy and truthfulness of our responses.

However, in my opinion, these comments, written by you neither reflect accuracy or truthfulness:

<"friendly": Indonesians are usually very friendly – as long as they expect something from us. If one buys nothing, gives them nothing, lends no money or wants it back, one can see the smile melting.>





Those comments are insulting and demeaning to the Indonesian people who by and large…the vast majority, do not fit that mold you’ve cast for them. 

You further wrote, “every year I became victim of a massive fraud.”  Really?  Are you seriously trying to suggest there is no exaggeration there…“massive fraud?”  Because, if there isn’t then yes, it is a very valid question to ask you why you bother to stay here in Indonesia and it would also be valid to ask you how it is that you’re not completely bankrupt? 

You also asked, “and why not quoting what Indonesians are saying about themselves?”

Tom, I live in a small kampung, married to a Balinese and raising our three sons together.  On a day by day basis it’s rare for me to interact (face to face) with anyone aside from Indonesians and I don’t ever hear other Indonesians saying what you infer they are saying about themselves. 

I don’t live a life of “illusions” and of that I can assure you.  I also don’t try to paint a rosy picture that everything is perfect in Indonesia, because it isn’t.  However, I would much rather be here than back in the US, and I suspect that you would also rather be here than back in Germany.  If I didn’t want to live in Indonesia I am totally capable and able to live anywhere in the world I could chose and I’ll assume that you’re in the same boat…i.e., able to live wherever you want.

So yes, to some degree I do embrace the ideology of “love it or leave it.”  And btw, that ideology has served me very well in this remarkable country for each of my past amazing 15 years of living here.  Just a hint, but it’s been my experience that the majority of Indonesians are very adept at reading what kind of a person we are…and that reflects very much on exactly how we are treated.

84 German language posts about Indonesian anarchy?  Now that’s interesting!  :rolleyes:

Indonesia is not the problem, it is how you perceive it.
Adapting in a positive way is essential to live it well, that does not mean integration.
No foreigner has ever integrated in the system and also the large majority of locals.
Adaptation and integration are two very different things and stand-alone.

Indonesia is not an easy place, aside the level of personal comfort, the satisfaction of being able to do it is a matter of common complacency, because the rules of the game are so different from our country of origin, and the fact that we are able to continue to go forward on a positive line, involves not only our adaptation to the system, but the use of that to your advantage.
If you are here, and continue to stay here, consciously or not, on the balance weigh more the positive side, otherwise you'd be a fool to continue to stay.

Indonesia is a great place for those who can appreciate it.

Hello. :)

To note that the thread title is 5 good reasons for living in Indonesia.

If you want to discuss another subject, do not hesitate to start a new thread on the Indonesia forum.

Thank you for your comprehension,
Aurélie

Aurélie, please let this discussion continue as is, and without moderation.  The fact is, the 5 best reasons for living in Indonesia can only be honestly discussed if the 5 worst reasons for living in Indonesia are also considered. 

The real value of a forum can only be determined by its content, and that content should embrace opposing views and opinions…IMHO of course.   

Tom, this isn’t an issue about your experiences being “less important” rather it’s an issue where if in fact, your experiences are as you describe, then most reasonable folks would get the heck out!

The Indonesian people are not responsible for your misery, nor are they obligated to provide you with an environment in which you would be happier.  That is up to you, and only you.

The responsibility for your happiness and fulfillment of your dreams when living in Indonesia is not up to the people of Indonesia…rather it falls squarely in your lap. 

If you’re getting all of this good advice to be “more adaptive” has it ever occurred to you to listen to, and follow that advice?

I don’t know you Tom, but I have to honestly say that just by reading your posts here (but none of your 84 German language posts about Indonesian anarchy) I am rather surprised that you’ve lasted as long as 13 years of expatriate living in Indonesia. 

That all being said, I sincerely wish you the best of luck finding your niche here in Indonesia…a niche which will find you a whole lot less embittered and full of angst, none of which is ever going to make anything better in your life.

Ubudian :

Aurélie, please let this discussion continue as is, and without moderation.  The fact is, the 5 best reasons for living in Indonesia can only be honestly discussed if the 5 worst reasons for living in Indonesia are also considered.

Hello Ubudian.

Why don't you start a new thread on the Indonesia forum and discuss about the 5 worst reasons for living in Indonesia? This will allow better interaction and avoid off topic messages here. :)

[Sorry for the :offtopic:]

Thank you,
Aurélie

for me, the reason to move back to Indonesia after years abroad are:

- my husband
- the people
- the weather
- the food
- the x factor that I cannot really describe with words.. it's like when you fall in love with someone, sometimes there are no explanation to why you love him/her, but you just do.. that is what indonesia feel like for me.
my life is far more comfortable abroad, but here in indonesia I feel like I truly live.. I feel blessed, humble and just a sense of joy and gratitude every time I see the beauty of this country and the people.

minahasato :

I’m living here since 2000.

But you can't seem to stand the place.
I arrived seven years behind you but seem to have learnt to love and understand the place and its people so much faster.

Tell me, how do crime rates and social ills compare to your native country?
I know the difference between England and Indonesia and England comes a very poor second.

Manu84 :

Indonesia is not the problem, it is how you perceive it.

Close but no cigar.
Indonesia isn't the problem, the expat who moves to a place he can't stand is the problem.

Ubudian :

I don’t live a life of “illusions” and of that I can assure you.  I also don’t try to paint a rosy picture that everything is perfect in Indonesia, because it isn’t.

Indonesia is far from perfect but the downside doesn't even come close to tipping the scales against the upside.
I've tried to get to know the country and as much of how it ticks as I can. I allow myself to get ripped off a little as I know the people ripping me off will never have what I have.

I'm assured, xenophobes tell people to "fit in or get out".
Normally I would disagree but I see little point in CHOOSING to live in a country you hate and live with people you don't want to know and don't trust.

Personally, I have many local friends and I live very much as a locals do. I eat local food, am learning the language and try to behave in a way that is locally acceptable.
My local mosque made a lousy noise so I helped them fix their PA system.
Just seemed to be a better way than moaning about it on an expat forum.
Still, I could be wrong but I don't think so.

Another thing I love about this country is, the way people are willing to help you, more so when they realise you're friendly to them.

Ebenezer Scrooge had no friends at all but his luck changed after meeting the hantu hantu of Natal.

minahasato, check your door knocker to see if Jacob Marley's face is on there. :)

vielluvia :

- the x factor that I cannot really describe with words.

I get that as well.
There's just something about this country that I can't help loving.
No idea what it is but it's there.

“I also can’t imagine that you don’t know, that there are Indonesians, who comment critically about their own country and would leave it gladly by moving to "paradise" Germany.”

That reminds me of an old bet I made with an Englishman quite a number of years ago who was in the process of moving to Bali. 

He had bet me that if he walked around my village offering free plane tickets to England, a house and citizenship that most, if not all the people in my village would take him up on that offer.  Of course I won the bet hands down because not a single person took up his “offer” hypothetical or otherwise, and that included even the poorest of folks in our village.  While it might surprise you, a vast majority of Indonesians love their country and have little, if any, desire to move away. 

That true story aside, sure, of course there would be some Indonesians who would take up the opportunity to move to “paradise” Germany, but I’d bet you in a heart beat that I’d have no trouble just as easily finding a whole lot of Germans currently living in Germany to gladly move to Paradise Bali.  None of this really means anything, as that is simple “the grass is greener somewhere else” mentality.  That is just human nature and it doesn’t prove a thing. 

As for “social progress” Tom, that isn’t up to you or other foreigners who live in Indonesia to dictate, and it never will be unless you were to become an Indonesian citizen. 

Tom, you write,

“I’m convinced that there are good western values (for example the secular state), from which Indonesians should learn in order to be able to reach their desired goals.”

I’m sorry Tom, but that attitude is nothing short than unbridled arrogance that the west is in any way, manner, shape or form better than Indonesia.  That is classic neo-colonial thinking, and nothing will make an Indonesian more angry than listening to that sort of rubbish.   

On the other hand, Indonesia obviously does embrace a great deal of western as well as other Asian ideas, technology, and even principles of government which is clearly evident in Indonesia’s constitution and its subsequent amendments.  The point Tom is that Indonesia is responsible for its destiny and only its citizens have the democratic right to effect that outcome. 

For every horrible event you can think to write about that has taken place here in Indonesia, you could just as easily find the same happening in your own country both historically and currently.  That is the case regardless of whatever is the country of origin with any foreigner here in Indonesia. 

This is something else you wrote,

“Yet some of them hate me because I also fight against their noise-terror.”

By that am I correct in assuming that you’re referring to the calls to prayer coming from area mosques? 

If so then you should read about what happened to the American expat Luke Gregory Lloyd in Lombok in August of 2010.  You can easily Google his name for the many various news accounts of how he stomped into a mosque and pulled the plug.  Here’s one account of the story if you’re not inclined to Google: 

http://www.thejakartaglobe.com/home/sle … bok/393695

Finally Tom, this one comment from you really got my attention:

“Muslims love Germans because they killed Jews…”

I don’t know what Muslims you refer to, but in all my 15 years happy and fulfilling life in Indonesia I have never encountered an Indonesian who has voiced anything of that sort of sentiment.  Surely there are some among the more radical and extreme Indonesian Muslims who would feel that way, but surely you must already know that the vast majority of Muslim Indonesians are void of that hate in their hearts. 

Tom, in our past discourse I have raised the question several times…“given your deep feelings and opinions, why are you still here?”

Perhaps you could take a moment to answer that question, as I know with certainty that I’m not the only one would like to “hear” your answer to that question.

Tom, there are no hateful insults in anything I have written, so please, let’s be honest and simply agree that you refuse to discuss this further with me either because you can’t or simply won’t come up with a logical or reasonable response. 

Tom, you might also consider the complete lack of any agreement or support for your unique views by anyone else on this forum. 

Personally, I wish you the best of luck with your future endeavors to find peace and happiness with your life in Indonesia.

Cheers, and good night to you up there in northern Sulawesi.

Muslims love Germans because they killed Jews.

OMG.

I've heard some total crap but this has to win the prize.
As for knowing Indonesia. I have a handle on the place and see past the news stories to gain a real idea of the country's political and religious problems.
I make a point of meeting as many people from as many social groups as I can.

All of that leads me to my opinion of the place and the good is still far greater than the bad.
PS - do Brits hate Germans because you bombed our chip shops?

Tom, if you want a great insight on Pak Fred, keep abreast of his highly popular thread titled “Fred Went a Wandering.”

Fred is neither disillusioned nor is he disheartened.  On the contrary, that constantly updated thread casts an entertaining and realistic light, spiced with humor and irony, on expatriate life on Indonesia.  Truth be told, far too few expats bother to get a grip on what life in Indonesia can be, and you could learn a great deal just by reading that entire thread from day one until now.

A further point Tom.  Most all successful long term expats in Indonesia will readily acknowledge the importance of “giving back” at least a small portion of what we have gained through our lives here.  How this is done varies a great deal from expat to expat, but the concept is universal.  For myself, I approached this on the banjar level first and foremost, and that I suppose that was based on how I was brought up…“charity begins at home.”   

I could go on and on with our contributions to our own banjar…building two new temples and repairing several older ones, a pre-natal vitamin program for the pregnant women of our banjar, educational scholarships,  liaison with other “tamu” seeking to live in our village, etc.   

The point Tom is not to expect anything in return, nor even to expect a simple “thanks.”

Charity with expectations of a “pay back” isn’t charity at all, rather that is a component of business. 

Here in Bali we call this mind set karma, and while it might seem that ingratitude is commonplace here, it isn’t that at all.  Helping one another and community is simply expected here…it’s a weft fiber in the cloth we call Indonesia.

Tom, I’m sorry to be brutally honest with you, and please don’t take what I write as anything like a personal attack or insult, but the reality is clear…the greatest source of your issues and problems with your life in northern Sulawesi are to be found in the mirror.  If any of your attitudes expressed here on this forum are the attitudes being picked up on by your local community members, then for sure you are going to have long standing and unresolved negative issues, but don’t blame the Indonesians for them.

Expats that live in “the big durian” and indeed many expats who live in the “bule ghettos” of southern Bali never really have to entirely grasp this concept.  But you, like me, living in Indonesia ala kampung, have no other choice.  That’s just reality Tom, and if that life isn’t viable or feasible for you, then alternatives should be considered. 

For over 15 years I have been writing about how expats ebb and flow like the tide here, and that isn’t more true than for those expats who chose to live in any of the villages to be found here. 

And consider this too Tom…that being the fact that the vast majority of Javanese and other Indonesians who move to Bali themselves will not pick a Balinese kampung environment to live…and they are obviously Indonesian themselves.  The vast majority of non Balinese Indonesians who live in and around Ubud are either married to a local Balinese, or were at one time.  While I am no way as familiar with northern Sulawesi as you are, I suspect this is much the same there. 

The challenges are unique Tom, and I respect that those challenges can often seem insurmountable, but they really aren’t if this is what you truly want. 

BTW Tom, if you want to have a private discussion with someone, try using the private message function.  Anything posted on forum strings is a public discussion and thus available for anyone to participate.  If you ever want to have a personal and private discussion with me, I'd be more than willing to continue discussions with you in that venue.

minahasato :

Mas Fred, I wanted to ask you, what the reality of your “love” is. If you are producing food for the people, if you are giving them work, if you finance some youth’s education, how much lifes did you save already, if you are planting trees and preserve nature or if you are donating to your community. All that I’m doing and much more. The Indonesian government rewarded me for that. I wouldn’t write about it if there wouldn’t be such ugly accusations against me (some are already deleted by the Expat-staff). But after I looked in your profil, I knew what you problem is.

I never have sex with any Indonesian man's wife.
How's that for helping the locals?
Well, come on - it was a daft set of questions.

I do know what you mean about my profile. That location isn't prime real estate and you do need the water wings.

As for charity, that's for me and the almighty Allah, not for a public forum. I will say, I try to be reasonable to those in trouble or in need of help.

I've updated my profile but I may have misread, "Blog".

Chip shops aside, I think its time everyone moved away from this bun fight. What ever is happening in Sulawesi clearly is not happening in Bali or Jakarta from our perspectives and so I think it is better to ignore this thread and return to the 'how much to live here' , 'my company is will pay me 100 gold bars a month to work here is that enough?' and 'where is the best place to buy a TV?' questions and enjoy what we have.

Have a good day everyone.

lukereg :

Chip shops aside, I think its time everyone moved away from this bun fight. What ever is happening in Sulawesi clearly is not happening in Bali or Jakarta

Have a good day everyone.

I think chip shops are important, it probably is and I am doing, cheers.
Buns should be eaten, not wasted as so many people can't afford to buy buns.
Hang on, no, no cash for bread; let them eat buns.

I think Tom is entitled of his opinion about Indonesia.
As an Indonesian myself I dont feel offended by what he is saying..because though I love this country, it is indeed far from perfect.

Perhaps what kinda amusing for me is how negative and full of criticism his opinions are.. almost no single positive point he wrote about Indonesia (while the topic is 5 good reasons)..and yet he still choose to stay here..come on it mustn't be all bad right? :P
As a rice-farmer you are making a living from "our land".. the ppl there "let you, a stranger" into their community.. of course you paid and work hard for it like everybody else.. but really if we were really such a terrible folks, we would have "kick you" a long time ago..no offense :D
You were an art-teacher (nothing wrong with that btw) and now you are a farmer..so you've been given an opportunity (a second chance perhaps), be grateful, be happy.. dont sweat so much on the "small stuffs".. wake up and smell the rice :D

And even tho' he said to admire Indonesian law and traditional culture, but from “Yet some of them hate me because I also fight against their noise-terror.”
I'm assuming that he is referring to the calls to the "adzan"?
Well if as "a guest" you cannot even tolerate something like that, than you dont really admire our ways.. because if you cannot understand and even respect something so fundamentally important for so many ppl here, than yes, you gonna have problems and hard time "adapting".

I've lived for over 20years in Europe, including Germany..each country got it share of issues.. my mother was once attacked by the local teens and they also send their dog.. when I was a kid, I was almost rape once, by my so called friendly neighbor.. there are also issue with "integration", social isolation and racism for some migrants (like Turkish migrants)
But where ever I am, I've always enjoy my experience, the good and the bad.. and try to see and understand the locals perspective.. because it was my choice to be there, no one force me.. like how now I chose to go back to Indonesia, because I had enough living abroad (perhaps Tom should go back to Germany instead of continue "suffering" here?.. noting personal, but perhaps he would be happier back home)
heck, even paradise can be hell, if you choose to "see" it that way :)


mas fred,
Perhaps the x factor for me is the diversity of Indonesia (in all aspect).. I can be deep in the jungle one day, and the next day back into the concrete jungle of jkt..I can be having bubur ayam in the morning "di kaki lima" and have a fine dinner in one of the 5 stars hotel in the evening..I can be amazed at the riches and the same amazement looking at the poverty..etc etc
For me Indonesia is "lalaland" of limitless possibility and potential :D

Indonesia as lalaland.
Never thought of it that way but I agree about divesity.
Of course, diversity could be called inequality. ... If you like to see a half empty glass.

My glass is half full and I know a waiter is never far away and will top it up.
Smile, dudes.

Dear members,

This thread is getting way off topic.
I would suggest we get back to the initial subject or we might moderate/ move some posts.

Thanks
Armand
Expat.com Team

I don't live in Indonesia and probably never will, but based on a recent vacation I would say the top 5 reasons to live there are the friendly people, good food, interesting weather, low prices and huge denominations on money - I liked walking around with a million in my pocket.

HaileyinHongKong :

I don't live in Indonesia and probably never will, but based on a recent vacation I would say the top 5 reasons to live there are the friendly people, good food, interesting weather, low prices and huge denominations on money - I liked walking around with a million in my pocket.

I'm unsure I'd include the interesting weather but I may well mention, no winter.

OK Armand, fair enough.

5 good reasons for living in Indonesia (in general):

-Huge growth potential and one of the leading economies in SE Asia.
-G 20 member status…the only G 20 country in SE Asia.
-A stable and sound government with a democratic Constitution.
-A good infrastructure aside from the more remote areas.
-Incredible diversity and opportunity.

5 good reasons for living in Bali specifically:

-A sound and sustaining cultural richness.
-A safe and nurturing environment to raise children.
-Remarkably helpful, respectful and friendly people.
-A delightful year round climate, (even during the rainy season)
-An acceptance and adaptability to western ideologies (to a point of course) ;)

minahasato :

How one experiences Indonesia, depends whether one is a tourist, works here only for a while or is living here. I’m living here since 2000.
"friendly": Indonesians are usually very friendly – as long as they expect something from us. If one buys nothing, gives them nothing, lends no money or wants it back, one can see the smile melting.
"food": The usual daily Indonesian meal is the worst and most unhealthy, I know. In a tourist restaurant, that looks very differently.
"little crime": A look into the newspaper or TV would help to get that right. Once a Minahasa explained to me that 1% of his people are honest. Honesty is no Indonesian virtue. Never before I had so much business with corrupt police and court. Every year I became victim of a massive fraud. Not one “belanda” here, who hadn’t the same experience.
Indonesia had a magnificent culture and nature. Both they just are abandoning and western live-style is copied instead.

Salut Dominique,
Where are you living in Sulawesi?

I also like the easy ability to travel, either within Indonesia or to sod off to another country if you hate the place.
Air Asia has a hub in Jakarta.

airasia.com

I find their internal flights to be very handy.

Sorry guys we moved the recent off-topic posts.

You can discuss those "issues" on another thread or in private.

Thanks
Armand

How can one chose to stay if he feels so miserable living in this country? Have you ever felt happy for the past 12 years living here? I wonder.

hello to all expat, I would like moving to indonesia, how difficult and where do I have to go and to do, thanks a lot

john44 :

hello to all expat, I would like moving to indonesia, how difficult and where do I have to go and to do, thanks a lot

Actually I dont have much idea about Indonesia, so far i knew most of Australian come here to Bali and they do lots of invest and business around Bali and Netherland ppls are go to around Bandung. US people go over Kalimantan areas and they do business around there. Thanks.

"US people go over Kalimantan areas and they do business around there."

We do?  :o

In case you don't know, there are thousands of US expats on Java and Bali, not to mention the numbers elsewhere. 

John44...start a new string, tell something about yourself and ask specific questions.  That way you'll get useful advise.

Ubudian :

"US people go over Kalimantan areas and they do business around there."

We do?  :o

In case you don't know, there are thousands of US expats on Java and Bali, not to mention the numbers elsewhere. 

John44...start a new string, tell something about yourself and ask specific questions.  That way you'll get useful advise.

Mr. Ubudian, Thanks for correction.

Ubudian :

John44...start a new string, tell something about yourself and ask specific questions.  That way you'll get useful advise.

Not necessarily.

What do you mean, "not necessarily?" 

John is brand new to the forum and he asks what is about as generic and basic question as can be asked...

"hello to all expat, I would like moving to indonesia, how difficult and where do I have to go and to do, thanks a lot."

What would you suggest Hailey?

He obviously can't answer Julien's question since he hasn't ever lived here.

New topic