How do you define a good Indonesian?

When I was on my way to Dumai, a small city located 200 km from Pekanbaru in Riau Province, to do a compulsory internship in Pertamina UP II, I saw something really interesting. It was when I was waiting for my shuttle to get me from Pekanbaru to Dumai, which unfortunately wasted my 3 hours extremely valuable sleep time. Imagine this, a sleek poster, big, well-designed, pastel colors, with a title: “10 Ways to be A Good Indonesian”, in English.

It got me occupied for at least 3 minutes to pay attention to the design and 10 minutes to read its thoughtful message. Here are 3 of them, ones that I consider quite critical in delivering messages for us to be a truly good Indonesian people.

Speed your car down when the traffic light is yellow and stop when it’s red.

First time I read it, I was confused. Does that have anything to do with being a good Indonesian? But the second time, I understand what it means. Yellow light is a sign of caution, warning, and watchfulness. It is a way of telling the drivers to slow down their cars and then stop because the red light is about to come. The red light for us leads to a green light for other drivers from the other side of the road. But I bet you all now what actually we all do in the streets. We take chances. We don’t want to get our time wasted for another 2-3 minutes. We simply speed up our car when the traffic is yellow and see whether we can or cannot make it. But can you imagine what will happen when the traffic is terribly bad and somehow we can not make it? We will be astonishingly stuck in the middle of the crossroad and win the traffic-maker of the day award.

Always put a bit of elegance when stating your opinion.

This is very interesting considering there are so many people rioting about the fuel price rise on the street lately. They burnt red-plated government cars, blocked some main streets in the city, and marched along the way rejecting the government decision to increase the fuel price. Well, it is the right of the people to express their opinion. But why don’t we put a bit of elegance in it? Have you ever heard of a group of college students who made an in-depth analysis of the fuel price rise effects? They handed it to the government, they have the press coverage, and they succeeded in doing their role as the nation’s agent of change in a very good manner. So, which one are you?

Cherish you life. Share your love. Be positive.

We have to admit that Indonesia is not at its best. Yes, we are facing so many problems. Government corruption issues are coming to the surface, we are having a shortage of food supplies and energy, and we are left-behind compared to other fellow ASEAN countries. But still, can’t we just cherish our life a bit? Why can’t we believe that the new dawn is coming and we’ve been very close to that moment? I believe that happiness is a state of mind and it’s something we can get if we believe in it. Will we lose something if we choose to smile everyday and share our love to people around us and stop rumbling about how pathetic our country is? Things are not that ugly, guys. Be positive and put a bit of faith in your heart.

Let’s give a huge credit to whoever made that unique poster. Goodbye Dumai, Pekanbaru, and Riau. It was a really great time. Thank you for the very enlightening message. Be a good Indonesian, everyone.

  • These guides define a good person overall.

  • rishi

    yes, thats very true. I have never heard an Indonesian’s inner voice like this before. Keep up the good posts, it makes every Indonesian feel proud of being who they are.

  • Yes, whatever orang bilang about indonesian, yang pasti saya BANGA jadi Orang Ondonesia…

  • whatever indonesia is now, i still believe that indonesia is the best country for me. And I’ll try to be good indonesian. Maybe it will be good when many posters like that are put in many places of indonesia.

    Now, I am trying to bring the name of indonesia by participating in new international search engine optimization (SEO) contest called Busby SEO Test. I hope you would like to support me too Michael, like you’ve supported I have a blog participated in this competition,

    I need more supports from Indonesian, especially from ITB bloggers. I don’t want to see other contestants from other countries who win the contest. Now, the temporary result of busby seo test puts philipina’s contestant (pinayspeak) on first position on google data center result page. And I want indonesian participants to dominate the results, not philipino or french.

    Jadi saya juga minta dukungan dari bang michael untuk memberi backlink dari blog ini dengan memasang link umpcinfo tadi dengan nama Busby SEO Test, seperti enticegh.

    Atau kalau tidak keberatan, sekalian blog saya yang di :D. Dukungan dari temen2 kaya bang michael sangat berguna sekali. Maaf kalau minta dukungannya lewat komentar, soalnya saya tidak tahu email bang michael hutagalung. Oia, minta ijin jg buat naruh link blog ini di blog saya, soalnya saya kagum ada anak ITB yang jago bikin theme wp, orang teknik kimia pula.

    Salut deh ^_^
    thanks michael :-)

  • interesting story, i don’t really want say much about the negativity of our nation… actually it was more to the individual itself… not only indonesian, other nation also does the same… it’s like rules are made to be broke… so everybody responsible for their misbehavior. Two words to losers out there… “GROW UP”

  • well it’s not my first time visiting your site, and this is actually the second time I’m leaving a comment here since I haven’t gotten the chance to go blog-walking so much (read: thesis). and gosh your site is getting cooler! *nods wisely*

    hey I’ve been to Duri! (and komen gw ini technically nyambung as duri ngga jauh dari pekanbaru… :grin: )
    and I always thought yellow was “INJAK GAS!” and red was….just a suggestion. (kidding! I’d be dead by now if I hold on to that! :lol: )

    about the poster, in my humble opinion, I think it’s kind of leading the foreigners there (I learn there are quite a huge number of foreigners there) to think from a certain point of view, in which I find is (kinda) ‘labeling’ Indonesians in a not so good way. I mean, it’s written in English. If it’s aiming for the natives, then why not put it down in Indonesian? wouldn’t that be more effective? bisa kena di semua lapisan masyarakat, yang ngga ngerti bahasa inggris sekalipun.

    it’s not that I’m seeing the glass half empty, justru I think we should stop laughing and nodding at what people point as our ‘kekurangan’ and start encourage people untuk semakin mengkentalkan what we are (known to be) good at. Like gotong royong, for instance. it’s sederhana, but it’s ours =)

    *spreading some hippie loving*

  • Widya

    Helloo, this is my first time i visit ure blog,,
    superbfun..,, keep up the nice work.

  • si tukang nyampah
    superb blog? ahh.. berlebihan. hehe.. iya tuh masalah ngantri emang dah mengakar banget. masa gua pas gua ngantri di airport - kebetulan di Sultan Syarif Kasim Pekanbaru -, antrian gua diserobot orang lalu dia berdiri bertolak pinggang seakan-akan dia gak salah apa-apa. Udah gua liatin tuh orang dengan gaya sengak gua tapi akhirnya gua sendiri yang merasa tolol karena dia gak merasa bersalah sedikit pun. Akhirnya gua malah jadi bingung siapa yang salah sebenarnya. Apa gua yang salah kali ya. Hahaha..

    Pedestrian crossing light?? waduh. Di Indonesia masih 10 tahun lagi kali ya. hehe.. Indonesia masih kurang peduli pejalan kaki kayanya. Trotoar aja dipake parkir.


  • Whoaaa….bel, dunno what to say…it’s been a while since my last visit…and when i came back…TADAAAAA….i found a SUPERB blog here!!! Ahahahahaha….

    Im trying to be a good indonesian…here…in singapore, aiahahaha…

    i learned how to queue for something…(daripada di maki2 pake bahasa yang nggak gue ngerti…hihihihi)
    i learned to cross the street ONLY when the pedestrian crossing light is green…(abis pulisi sini demenannya nyamar siiiih….)
    i learned to bring my own shopper’s bag when i went to groceries…(soalnya kadang kalo mo pake kantong plastik kudu bayar…aiahahahaha)
    and…i learned to save energy…(bayar listrik 200 dolar sebulan…gimana gua kagak bela-belain ngirit listrik!!! gyahahaha)

    Well….HAYOOOOOH…be a good indonesian!!

    *maap komen ga penting, hihihihihihi*

  • maya
    Yes. It’s really unfortunate that I did not take a picture of the poster. It is located on Jalan Jendral Sudirman - Pekanbaru, near the crossroad of Mal Pekanbaru. I hope it’s still there.

    And what is actually happening with traffic lights in Bandung? Is yellow the new red and green?

    LOL. Hahaha.

    well, how are Australians doing down there? haha..

    agreed. and is that what you called bad English? not bad at all!

    thanks yonna! also for the in-depth analysis! let’s start to be a good Indonesian!

    thank you. your blog is way better that mine. I’ll do my best - tapi gak janji - but I’ll do my best. haha.. how’s that?

    And Sherwin is definitely MIA. I’ve tried to contact him with YM, email, and blog comments. Still no reply. It seems he’s having a holiday or something.

  • Geez! Your blog is getting better and better each time I visit it. Kudos.

    Be a good Indonesian? Depends on how you define it, because being good doesn’t necessarily mean being perfect, yes?
    I’ll do my best — tapi ngga janji. :oops:

    PS: Sherwin has gone MIA! What’s up with him? Any news?

  • Instead of grumbling Indonesians’ negative traits, it’s better to discuss how to be a good Indonesian, nice and wise article :)

    #1 is talking about to obey rules and regulations. Something that most of Indonesians hard to do.

    #2 is talking about talking effectively and maturely. When we’re talking about an issue, we shall have knowledge pertain to the issue. Many people talk just to show how smart and opinionated they are, they forget that they must master the knowledge first then talking, I mean mastering knowledge, analyzing, thinking, re-thinking then talking.

    #3 is talking about mental development, attitude and mind-setting. Sadly, many Indonesians love to stir unimportant things up and get easily flustered or suspicious or easily point their finger on something or someone. why don’t you mind your own business and live your life peacefully and quietly? be positive and grateful.

  • Great post, really… I don’t know how to define a good indonesia, IMHO, I think that we should start with our personality first. Sorry for my bad English. :mrgreen:

  • nice entry.
    it also made me think -waht makes a good australian?
    and why don’t australians and indonesians know each other better?
    anyway, thanks from down here, to up there!

  • How to define a good Indonesian?
    It’s actually very Simple.
    Good indonesian is someone like michael jubel…
    setuju khan ?:)

  • unfortunately you didn’t capture the poster, I really want to see directly. Anw, talking bout the issue #1, do you know that recently, traffic lamp in several streets in Bandung turn into yellow only? I give example like in Cikapayang (in front Gedung Annex) and Cihampelas (still, below the Pasupati Flyover).. I really didn’t get what all gov’t and police related thought. It may lead us not learn bout queuing anymore..


  • There are stereotyping issue, self-proclaimed VIP queue line, use your logic - never get too mystical, do not litter, and I forgot the other 3 messages.

    I wrote about stereotyping issue, self-proclaimed VIP queue line, and environmental issue before I went to Dumai. It seems all of us can start to make a book titled “Being A Good Indonesian”.

    I guess it is really the time to be one good Indonesian. Hehehe..

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  • yes… where’s the rest? :cool:

  • a really goooood message,
    can’t help but craving for the rest of it.