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People can either get respect or earn it. In Indonesia we are tought to respect older people. What do you do when older people don’t respect you as the young(er) one?

I recall some scenes I experienced at wedding parties in Jakarta. Wedding parties during my time living there were mostly standing receptions with buffet. There would be several stands to choose for, varied from the appetizers, main courses to desserts.  At the dessert stand, when queuing for the oh very delicious looking dessert, an older lady cut off the line by saying “please make some room for me, the older one, I’ll get only one portion”. By saying this, she jumped the queu just like that, leaving us who were patiently waiting for our turn, looking at each other in disbelief but nobody said anything.

During my second visit to Jakarta at the year 2000, I experienced the following at the Hero Supermarket at PI-Mall. I was queuing, the third of 5 queuers, for the cashier. A lady (I wonder, why I experienced only ladies on this subject?) went directly to the cashier, neglecting the queuers. She said to the cashier “I only have two items to pay”. I can tell you, I was assertive enough then to firmly tell her to join the queu at the end of it. My little sis who was with me at that time, whispered to me “Kak, don’t make any scene, please”, but I insisted by nodding to the lady to do so. I noticed that the cashier herself was starting to feel awkward about this. Finally, the lady went to join the queu at the back!

Another example: the age difference. I do call people who are older automatically Mas or Mbak (Javanese) or Bang, Uni, Usi, Kakak (it depends where they are from) which shows that I respect them. What I do mind is people who address themself during the very first conversation with me, assuming that I am younger, as Mbak X or Mas Y. It feels as if they forced me to do so. In some cases they are just 2 or 3 years older or even worse, some are younger than me!

The above are examples from Indonesia. Here, I experienced some too. On the phone at the office, by the first conversation, when people start to Tutoyer (it is like loe gw in Bahasa Indonesia) with me instead of Vousvoyer (this is the Anda form in Bahasa Indonesia), I show that I don’t appreciate this by emphasizing their tittle “Ok, so you mean Meneer or Mevrouw…”.

Last example, it happened in the train in Utrecht. It was rush hour in the afternoon. I was sitting in front of a young man who had his baggage (seemed that he came back from travelling, looking at an airline nametag attached his bag..) on the empty seat next to him. A lady came in and immediately sat on this young man’s bag without asking (for the manner’s sake) “May I sit here?”. That young man and I shared a glance of WTF???. A second later he told her politely to relax, she would get this seat anyway. I admired him, cause he managed to react calmly.

You can be respectful to other people not only by the way you address them, but the way you treat them as you would like to be treated.

That’s all!


13 thoughts on “R.E.S.P.E.C.T.

  1. Indonesians are soo bad in queue.. I think because we never taught how to queue and respect others… sad isn’t it.

    I hear you, I will not tolerate people with no manner even though they’re senior people.

  2. oh you’re so right about this.

    the other day when i tried to pay for some things i bought in a 10-dollar shop or whatever thing like that, there was this elderly asian woman cut my queue line and went directly to the cashier. i had to tell her off to join the queue. i dunno if she’s retarded or what but the way she dressed and put her make up showed that she was from a higher class, pity that she didn’t have manner to go with it

  3. You know what, many of your posts relate to what I’ve been thinking about LOL.

    I have the same opinion. One should earn his/her respect. If I want somebody to be polite to me, I should be polite first. If I don’t want people to say bad things about me, I shouldn’t start gossiping about others.

    We should respect old people because they are old heheheh. There are many seniors in Muenchen who are still strong enough to go around. But from their body language, I could see they feel vulnerable and many of them became rather panick thinking that might slow down the queue, for example. Ah, they remind me to my own parents who are seniors already. Yet, some of them do abuse their seniority, just like that lady at the wedding.

  4. Every time I go back to Indonesia I always experience the stress of queue at the immigration line. People do queue but they don’t respect our personal boundaries, they stand right behind you and breath on to the back of your neck and even though their bag touch your back they won’t back down. And the minute the queue moves they nudge and push you even before you have time to move your feet. Usually I swing my bag hard to hit their chest so they step back, if it doesn’t work I’d turn around and glance, and if they still don’t understand I’d become the evil me and say, “Bisa mundur dikit gak ya?”

    I think Indonesia, or big cities in Indonesia, generally is getting better though with their queuing system. Just give the country some time.

  5. Should really try Anita’s trips the next time I go back home to Indonesia. Unfortunately, I don’t carry a big purse/bag/tote.
    I have not had bad experience with old people here. Yet.

  6. @ Ecky, it is not only about Indonesians not being able to stay in line but also Dutch people.

    @ The Writer, your experience showed that we better not judge the book by its cover. In this case, you didn’t expect the lady to do so according to the way she dressed.

    @ Santi, you get the essence of this post: elderly people who abuse their seniority. Or let’s say that because they are old, they are convinced that they earn some privileges (like my last example in the Train in Utrecht).

    @ Anita, People do queue but they don’t respect our personal boundaries, exactly! I don’t know in Scotland but here in NL, there’s always a line drawn on the floor for queuing whether at an ATM, at the Bank, Postoffice, you name it. Nice tip tough, creating a space with your bag 😀

    @ Din, a bag or perhaps a spiky stiletto as an alternative? Keep it that way, not meeting elderly people who think they automatically earn respect because of their age.

  7. well there are annoying people in all walks of life, talking about queuing…I hate it when people cut the line in the bathroom. Rasanya pengen nimpuk pake tissue bekas pipis 😀

  8. Your ending reminds of Miranda Priestly of The Devil Wears Prada 😉

    I’ve experienced people cutting lines not only when queuing in the supermarket but also on the freeway. Gawd I hate it when people do that!!

    There have been an occassion though when the cashier refused to serve the person who cut my line, and she even said “This person was here first, thanks.” and the cutter was embarassed and backed away. LOL.

  9. @ Elyani, you are right. Annoying people are everywhere. I just hope my parents tought me to behave well on public places. Timpuk tissue bekas pipis? Tapi kalo kamunya masih antri gimana duong?

    @ Therry, OMG, yeah, it is Miss Priestly’s most famous one liner! Didn’t aware of this though.

    On the freeway is not only annoying but also dangerous. I need to control my temper whenever someone cut off my way just like that. My husband finds that I react agressively (non verbal & with unfriendly gestures, he means).

    “This person was here first, thanks.” The cashier must be an assertive one. It has to be that way. I hope there would be more and more of such cashiers in Indonesia.

  10. I agree with Finally Woken: they queue, but give you no personal space. Methinks they’ve brought their driving habits into the queue, where they have to stick close to the car/person in front so no one can cut them off!

    My problem seems to be getting the Mbak vs. Bu or Mas vs. Pak battle. I can’t distinguish very well where the line is drawn!

    Nice blog, by the way. Salam kenal!

  11. Hi Asti,

    Salam kenal juga. Thanks for leaving a comment.

    I suggest you to ask the person directly how they want to be addressed and not unimportant, how you want them to call you.

  12. Pernah lho saya kenalan dengan orang langsung manggil ‘mbak’. Asumsi saya:
    1. Dia orang jawa
    2. Dia belom 40th
    3. Perempuan seneng dimudakan

    Dan akhirnya dia memanggil dirinya sebagai ‘bu’. Ajegile gap umur cuman 10 tahun aje minta dihormatin bener deh.

    Dan ternyata di kantornya, para junior kudu cium tangan ke dia. wtf..

    • Maksudnya orang itu yang menyebut dirinya mbak kenalan sama kamu? Dengan begitu dia menuakan dirinya sendiri dari kamu? Ha..ha…ngaco. Aku udah 43 tahun mau dipanggil mbak, kakak, ibu bahkan nama pun ngga apa-apa Vit, yang penting hormat. Dan yang penting jangan panggil aku bunda karena rasanya ngga cocok aja dipanggil begitu ha..ha..

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