Today is 69th Independence Day of Republic Indonesia. After years of fearing the worst, now I have hope with the newly elected president, Djokowi.
Let me reflect on what it feels like living as an Indonesian abroad.
These things come to my notion observing Indonesian chauvinistic trait against Indonesians living abroad. Chauvinism is a form of exaggerated patriotism and limitless belief in superiority of the nation.
Some Indonesians abroad have adopted part of the culture of their country of residence which is in some cases needed in order to survive. This is called integrating. Sadly this is hard to understand by Indonesians living in Indonesia. The latter often judge Indonesians abroad who do so as forgetting the country. On the contrary Indonesians embrace foreigners who love Indonesia and are fully integrated living in Indonesia.
Some people, mostly those I know shallowly, are surprised if they hear I am still able to speak Bahasa Indonesia fluently. In my turn I react also with disbelief. How could they think so? Bahasa Indonesia is my native language, the language I grew up with and the language I feel most comfortable expressing myself with.
Many Indonesians are proud of their culture, nature and food. All three are excellent also. However loving other countries’ culture, nature and food doesn’t necessarily means you turn your back on your country. In my case Indonesia.
So if there are Indonesians who love to travel abroad and prefer to eat foreign food, please read this post. Indonesian travel destinations are breathtaking but the world is big. If there are Indonesians who want to explore it let them. This is my take against “Explore Indonesia first, then go abroad”.
Indonesian food is undoubtedly mouthwatering. However respect Indonesians who love to dig world culinary heritage. It is about taste after all.
I wish those who judge Indonesians living abroad know the following; Indonesians living abroad talk about their country often and take their culture with them. Well I guess this applies on immigrants all over the world.
In my case, I lost count how many times I happily provide my Dutch family, friends and colleagues with Indonesian travel tips. Like most Indonesians living abroad I have been introducing real Indonesian food here and will continue to promote it including Indonesian eating custom.
Ah at the end, I realise who am I to ask Indonesians NOT to judge Indonesians living abroad. As long as I have a red and white heart, that is what counts. No matter how integrated I am in The Netherlands, I still and will always love Indonesia. It is my beloved country where I was born and bred. Being an Indonesian is an undeniable part of my identity.
Today I salute Republic Indonesia for its 69 years of existence. Thank you for the freedom. Let it be improved for the better the following years.
Happy birthday Indonesia!