Asian people are not poor – they live easy

When I wrote few articles about my life in Indonesia (in Lithuanian one of the popular portal) I got some comments from the readers. They were calling me stupid to coming to this poor country. Asking what I left in Indonesia, why I want to live in that dirty society and etc. I met some travelers as well, who felt pity about Indonesian people, that their life is hard, they live in unsanitary conditions: have only cold water, doesn’t use toilet paper, eat with hands; live in small, almost transparent, houses without any comfort. I couldn’t understand those people at that time.

When I arrived in Indonesia, somehow I didn’t thought about it. Maybe because I had to take care how to find a place to live, how to deal with transportation here, buy some things, understand the system and people behavior. Deal with very hot weather and health condition (I got sick on the first week of living in Indonesia). Or maybe those things, Indonesian people lifestyle didn’t shocked me too much, I wasn’t pay attention in it? People live like this all their life, so what I can change about it?

Now, when I’m going back home (for Christmas) to Lithuania, I started to think what I experienced in Indonesia, what I learn here, what I discover and many more things. Even if I feel that holidays at home is just temporary, but still I will leave behind 1 and a bit more year of my life in Indonesia. And I know that after I will come back, many things will be different because of my ideas for the future.

And during my last days thinking I saw one video from TEDxDoiSuthep. It put all things together, what I was thinking recently. Jon Jandai from Thailand says a speech about his life, about one thing that he understood:

Life is easy. Why do we make it so hard?”

Even he is not from Indonesia but the things that he says, I think, possible to put to Indonesia, maybe some parts of Vietnam as well :). I haven’t been in Cambodia or other similar countries, so can’t generalized to all Asia.

What came to my mind after watching this video – Jon says true (he uses some funny comparisons) – life is much easier that we think. We – who decide to make it hard. We who put aims for our self (nobody ask us to do that), we who chase the fancy life style. Like a humans we don’t need all those things to feel happy.

We just need things that can satisfy our daily life needs and the rest of the things depend just on our way of thinking.

One of the things that I learned in Indonesia – live simple. Even if my European brains didn’t accept this still (I have to do list in my mind, schedule when and what need to do, what I want to reach) but the way of living I see that I already changed. And I feel really happy.

I live in my “big tent” without proper walls, without windows and all other things that I used to live with in Lithuania. I make things from used stuff, I bought only couple new clothes (and in second hand shop) during this year in Indonesia. Because clothes that I have are still good, I take good care of it. I try not to spend money for those things that I don’t need, I think couple of times before buying.

Even Indonesian people sometimes surprise when they find out that I live in “gedeg” house. They can’t believe that foreigner can live here. But almost all of them told me, that they have been living in such houses in their childhood. Or at least was visiting their grandparents in such houses and they felt happy. Does they feel happy now, in big houses which they rent for a big amount money that it’s hard to earn? I didn’t ask this, didn’t want to “pour salt on the wound”.

I just remember how stressed I was making repair work in flat in Vilnius (my friends know it :D). Searching the best things, quality ones, wishing to be more happier in the place that cost a bit more :D. Now it’s seems so funny. I think if I really needed all those stuff? Even if my place not crowded with much furniture or really expensive ones but still I spend much money on it and worked so hard to earn it. Now I think I could spend those money more wise – travel more, try new things and etc.

Jon Jandai words make sense and I could say conclusion – Asian people are not poor, they know how to live easy. Yeah, there are every time exception, and here lives more than 255 million people, so I can’t generalize all of them. But at least from places where I have been in Indonesia, the surrounding where I live, I can say that most of people doesn’t have a lot of money but you will see the smile on their face every time when you will meet them. They have in their garden plants that they grow – it’s enough for family and sell. Those who knows how to make handicrafts – make it for their home and sell it. People who know how to cook, they sell it in “warungs” (street eating places) or with “kaki lima” (street vendros). People take it easy – sell things in front of their house, for the neighbors, for bigger shops. Even if they don’t have money – they know how to enjoy the time with family, neighbors – meeting and chatting, making local events, solve problems in slow way, walk slow (for Europeans this part is hard to understand and make much more stress when they need to deal or solve some problems with Indonesians:D). They live in simple houses without expensive things because they don’t need them. They learn from their childhood how to enjoy time playing with animals, nature. They dress simple clothes as well. And you don’t need to judge Asian people because of their lifestyle. Don’t need to be surprised, just need to accept and not try to change them. Just think what they think about us – people from abroad? Probably when they deal with us, they don’t understand many things, why we are so in a rush, why we all the time have problems and etc.

And when I think now about coming back to Europe, I think how I will live now there – will I manage to bring this easy Indonesian my life there?

Yes, my 1 and a bit more year of life in Indonesia was easy as well. Just I didn’t see it all the time. You know, people need more time to change the way of thinking, understand and evaluate things that they get. Maybe you can say that easy life came because I got scholarship – no need to work or take care of the family with small amount of money. But for me, like a person from totally different word, not the money was a problem. But the things that I needed to accept, the things that I needed to change and understand. Sometimes this part is more difficult. If you are professional in your field, I think you can find the way to earn money in any country but to open your mind, heart and eyes not so easy everywhere.

Just want to say – I’m happy with simple my life in Indonesia even if sometimes I struggle to deal with myself here. But I still have time to work with it and the main thing that I still want to do that – learn how to live 100% easy life – live in Indonesia and enjoy the life here:)

So if life is easy. Why do we make it so hard? Maybe it’s already enough what you have? Maybe it’s time to relax and enjoy the moment?

 

Just spend 15 min. of your time to see Jon Jandai talk. If it won’t give you any incentive you won’t lose anything beside will have break :).

 

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What to expect from Indonesian concert?

Sometimes, when we are traveling, we can’t feel that close connection with local people or be a part of their daily life. But if you will ever have possibility, try to visit any local show (I’m not talking about those which is organized for tourists but those – which knows only local people :)) – do it!

If I have chance, I always try to attend local events, especially in Yogyakarta, where I live. I have been in many Indonesian concerts, exhibitions, events, festivals and other celebrations which were organized by local people or participants were only Indonesians. So I have a small “image” about Indonesian events.

Earthernity Fest poster

This time I want to share the discoveries of Indonesian concert, which I see really different from European ones. Even if past some time after visiting one of Indonesian concert in Yogyakarta – “Earthernity fest” (annual concert dedicated to celebrate earth day), the impression still lives in my mind. Probably this concert can be that one, which had all Indonesian events “attributes” :D.

Why this Indonesian concert was so special that I decided to go there?

First of all, I came here just because of Indonesian band “Payung Teduh”, I felt in love with their music already before coming to Indonesia :). Second, because of singer “frau”. Both of these artists in one place? I just needed to go! And for a big surprise – I discovered here new Indonesian group – TIK! TOK!.

So what you can expect from Indonesian concert?

Organizers performance

It will be late

and you can’t take inside your food or drinks (the security will take it from you) – but where it’s not happen? So this not counted like “unique” :D.

Sitting on the floor

Indonesians have sitting on the floor culture (when they are visiting people, eating, doing other things). So nothing surprising, just come to the concert and sit on the floor. People takes off their shoes, like at home :). For me – it’s not usual. If there are no chairs – you stand, in open area or very cozy place where is not enough seats – yeah you sit on the ground, but it’s not must. In this case, to sit 5 hours on the floor – some of the lower body parts really hurts :D. Nobody warn me that I need to take sitting pillow to the concert :D.

Long talks of “masters of the ceremony” (MC)

Almost none of the event (concert as well) won’t be real without MC’s. 1 – 3 people who tries to interact audience before the concert, during it. The funniest thing that MC’s speaking sometimes longer than performers stays on the stage (for example the band plays 10 min. – MC’s talks 20 min.):). Usually they just make some jokes (sometimes not funny at all), interactions with the prizes and a lot of self talks with the partner on the stage. Some of the event hires better MC’s, others takes amateurs. Because of MC’s interruption, this concert lasted 5 hours :D. How to be patient and wait for the last band the most important performer ?:)

Audience singing louder than the band on the stage

If Indonesians really like some songs, they will scream (imitating the singing) louder than the band on the stage. Even when you will ask them a bit make lower voice, because of their scream not possible to hear real singers – they won’t stop. In such way they express themselves.

Young couples dating

You can imagine how hard for teenagers and not marriage couples in the Muslim country to express their relationship? :). If they have a chance to be a little bit in private with the partner, they will try to go where is dark and a lot of people, because no one will be in attention of them. In this concert was the same – darkest corners was busy with couples: holding hands, touching shoulders. More braver was sitting in the crowed and hugging each other from the back.

Instant noodles

Most local people habit – eat instant noodles everywhere, even in the concert. Sellers even have more instant noodles types than other snacks. First I didn’t understood from where the smell of noodles is coming, just turn around and saw one guy eating them, then another girt in front, other guy in left. It’s looked that nothing can satisfy Indonesians stomach like “sambal” and instant noodles. Noodles “must” to be in every event.

Funny facts:

  • even if organizers didn’t deal properly with sound and lighten, but they didn’t forget to take out the brands labels from the water bottles which singers where drinking on the stage.
  • guess who was the “security” leading famous band out of the backstage? Girls with hijab :). Wondering why? In Muslim country none of the men can touch women with hijab (if it’s not your family member). So, even if somebody would like attack or do something, by the religion it’s not allowed :). Clever, yeah?
  • as well, I was the only one foreigner in the concert – so you can imagine how “popular” I was there :). Guessing who got more attention, people on the stage or me :D.

 

About all unsuccessful things during the concert I won’t write. Organizers, guests and bands probably already saw it. I hope for the next year concert, organizers will fix it or at least won’t do the same mistakes.

Some moments from Indonesian concert:

 

Have you been in any local performance during your trips? What was the most impressive thing or differences from what you used to?


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Movie “Java Heat” doesn’t give honor for Indonesia

 

Movie Java heat – doesn’t give honor for Indonesia

Yesterday I saw an  action movie “Java heat”. Usually I’m not interested in such movies but I was curious to see how Yogyakarta will be shown in this movie. Because it was mainly filming in Yogyakarta and Central Java island.

And I was totally disappointed!

  • 1st because of director Conor Allyn.
  • 2nd because of Indonesian people who after reading storyline approved film shooting in Indonesia.
  • 3rd because of Indonesian actors who were selected for the movie and accepted the offer.
  • 4th because of people who left positive reviews about this movie.

Why?

Director who lived in Indonesia almost 5 years (he filmed more movies related with Indonesia) even don’t know (didn’t pay attention) in things which were shown like untruth:

  • Vesak day was shown like celebration for the privileges people: parade with elephants, luxury participants clothes, big tents with furniture inside, like for kings.
  • Showing Muslim guy preparing Christian friend for burial in a mosque?
  • Showing Muslims like killers, he didn’t took just Indonesian people, he exactly choose Indonesian Muslims.

Indonesian people who approved the movie:

  • Accepted to show Indonesian Muslims like terrorists, using Allah name like a reason to kill. After such movies, how people can think that Muslims are not terrorists?
  • Allowed in Borobudur temple jumping through ruins, shooting there and etc. I can’t understand how they got permission to film there. A place of such peace being used as the backdrop for gun play. When at the same time they are making campaigns to educate visitors not to climb on the ruins and etc.
  • Showing Chinese people like prostitution promoter. Even how they allowed to show, that in Muslim country they even have elite prostitutes and it’s possible easy to “order”?
  • Accepted to show that foreigners with big money amount can do whatever they want in Indonesia, even to buy historical Javanese relic or use child sex abuse of boys?

Indonesian actors:

  • I don’t understand how they accept to represent their nation like terrorists?

And people who left review like “Java Heat seemed to be the embodiment of slick collaboration between Western and Eastern cultures that try to give a different perspective on Indonesia.” and etc. I think don’t understand how this movie represent Indonesia.

You think I react too sensitive? It’s just a movie?

But this movie shows and approves almost everything that Indonesian people try to dispose. So how the world can understand Indonesians? In one hand, years by years Indonesians trying to show themselves different from stereotypes about them. But in another hand they approves to film a movie about all Indonesian stereotypes. For what? Because of good money? Does money means everything, even to humiliate the nation?

I’m afraid even to think how director presents Indonesia in other his movies.

I’m not against to show reality, I’m against to show untruth.

In one interview director said that he wanted to show a beauty of Indonesia. For me this movie is very strange understanding of beauty.

By the way, this movie had a lot of attention from international press but only because of 2 famous actors Mickey Rourke and “Twilight” actor Kellan Lutz.

Some reviews about the movie, that I don’t understand. How people see only these things:
Resty Woro Yuniar of Wall Street Journal: Southeast Asia gave the film three and a half stars out of 5, writing “while the plot is predictable, the movie does give a viewer a good feel [Indonesia]” and notes “the movie does a fairly good job of capturing Indonesian traditions.”

Jeff Bounds from Dallas Business Journal noted that the “lighting, the special effects, and the cinematography” looked like it came straight out of Hollywood rather than Indonesia.

Andrew Skeates from Blueprint: Review gives it 3 out of 5 stars and notes that it “delivers its fair share of bone crunching and bullet riddled action scenes. From an extended chase through the back alleys of Java (which features several painful looking motorcycle stunts) to several hard hitting shootouts and a particularly memorable bit with a rocket launcher, Java Heat dishes out some thrilling action beats which have a distinctive old school feel about them.”

Also all reviews seams talking only about screening, acting but what about value that the movie brings?

Couple of the different reviews:
Los Angeles Time
New York Times

As well, I couldn’t even imagine that this movie was screened in film festivals: at the Dallas International Film Festival on April 4, 2013, then at the Taormina Film Fest on June 15–22.

Really I started to think that world goes in some wrong direction or maybe my world is a bit different?

And here is Indonesian people reviews that shows directors mistakes (in Indonesian language, so I will just copy/paste some parts)

Evania Putri Rifyana

<…>there are some scenes that are also considered sufficient to tickle the eyes of viewers who pay close attention. One was when a man who acted as perpetrators of explosions, complete with traditional Javanese dress, casually walked amid the crowd by using a vest containing a bomb that had been left open, but nobody noticed.

Not only that, in one scene traveling entourage envoy Admiral US Navy after the pick Jake, played by Kellan Lutz foreign players, which will aim to Airport also bring a question mark. How could travel to Yogyakarta Adisucipto airport through the streets of small fields and there are directions “Airport” by the way? Yes, maybe it was just a ploy directed to expedite the storyline. But less is considered appropriate to imagine the real situation. On the other hand in the same scene, visible unidentified female figure, dressed in red with long hair tasseled horses off the bike and come to be one of the teams that confront the mysterious journey of the US Navy and his entourage Jake. He acted like a hero Tomb Raider with the gun that fired towards the car entourage, then go just disappeared and did not reappear in the next scene. Not known who she was and what the purpose of the use of female characters in the masculine scene? Is that one form of break-feminist image of women? Or just as a “sweetener” deliberately artificial served to add to the entertainment scene in the midst of a thrilling passion?

Another oddity is also seen in one scene when the character Jake wants to find information about female with tiger tattoo. Jake looks down from a orange three-wheeled vehicle. “Bajaj” is becoming a common vehicle that is identical to the icon of the capital Jakarta, is shown as being part of urban transportation in Yogyakarta. It’s already clear, Bajaj is not used public transportation in Yogyakarta and none at all in DIY.

From all of that, there is the most important thing is not spared from this movie, that is how shown life in Kraton. Peak seen in some scenes stories, the palace courtiers successfully boycotted by the central character an American named Malik, played by Mickey Rourke. Exactly like scenes in Hollywood action movies, with typical Javanese clothes. The courtiers were armed with sophisticated asset rob the palace relics which are kept in the bank, driving a black van in the style of high-profile agent whose section side of the car there is a symbol that looks like the epitome Ngayogyakarta Palace, although the color and text are deliberately differentiated.<…>

Islampos

<…>practically from beginning to the end has been shown negatively about Islam and Muslims. Instead of showing how tolerant Muslims are, they show opposite.<…>

<…>Hashim, a police lieutenant, has mark on his clothes “Detachment 88”, also in the side of police car marked the “Densus 88”, something strange and ridiculous. Because in reality members of Detachment 88 don’t want to publicize themselves in community<…>

 

P.S. In my opinion, not to worth spend more than 1 and a half hour to watch this movie :)

If you saw this movie, what do you honestly think about it (not counting “exotic” places and famous actors)?


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