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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Why I moved from first home

3 of us (me, Karolina and Mesi ) moved to our first home . We were first people who lived in that house, so everything were still new (“everything” I mean clean walls, not broken ceramic floors, clean squat toilet, like nothing else was in that house – just curtains and 1 Indonesian style carpet ;)). Even this condition didn’t calm us down about the price (15 00 000 Rp/per 1 year+additional money for electricity). We thought that it’s a bit too expensive, so when our local friends visited us, we asked what they think about this house. All of them told, that it’s really too expensive for such condition house (without furniture, ceilings, even some of them told, that by ”standard” this house not finished yet). So, we just understood that we got such price because we are foreigners and almost everybody in Indonesia wants to “earn” money from them.

Our owner with a family lived beside our house, in the same “yard”. Sometimes she was bringing us breakfast, tea, sweets and etc. We were happy and were making a joke that we have ”second mother”. Nobody from her family was speaking English, so we thought we will have good opportunity to learn Indonesian language as well. We could anytime ask owners husband to help us at home or just borrow the tools. We were quite happy at that time there.

In Sewon area (Yogyakarta) didn’t live many foreigners, so some neighbors were hanging around in our terrace because of curiosity, the owner’s family celebrations was held here as well. Kids were running around, sometimes trying to get into a house without permission. Everything was fine for us, we knew that Indonesians are curious people and shares everything with everyone.
We were polite with all, smiling for everyone that we passed, never had any party or stayed loud till late, dressed properly and etc. In my opinion we adapt very quickly and really respected their lifestyle, we were just good neighbors.

But everything changed after 4 months living in this house.

Once (before Christmas) Karolina, me and Indonesian friend were at home, when somebody knock the door  (~10 pm). It was owner’s husband who asked our friend to come out because they have to talk. When I open the door wider I saw that our entire house was surrounded by ~ 20 men. Mesi was coming back home and she told that the view was intimidating – the local men stands in each corner of the house, by windows, like would be afraid that somebody can escape from house.  We didn’t understand what’s happening. Nobody explain us anything, like nobody speaks in English, so we were just waiting till friend will come back and tells what is going on.

After ~30 min. friend came back, he didn’t explained anything, took a motorbike, told that he will tell everything next day and just left. But one of the men came to our house, started to point to one of motorbikes (another friend just keeps it in our place, like he had 2 motorbikes) and asked where another guy is. We told him that nobody is else at home, only 3 of us. They didn’t believe, so couple of men were sitting in front of our street till ~12 pm and “guard” if somebody else will come out. They wasted their time.

Next day, when friend came, he again was invited by owner’s husband to have another talk. Inside the house was the owner’s son as well (who didn’t live there and during 4 months we saw him first time). Finally after this talk friend came to explain everything.

So, somebody told to “RT” (the smallest unit of governmental system to manage the living area. Each “RT” has their own community leader that makes decisions, solves the problems) leader that in our house happening orgiastic things, man stays over the nights and etc. Like in Indonesia not allowed to live together not married couples, those gossips gave a “result”. The community man with a leader in front came to check our house in the evening when they saw that in front of a house parked not our motorbike (they had so much time to observe our place that they even knew which motorbikes we are driving and which ones in not ours). During second talk with friend, owner told that from now on if we have male visitors we need to open both doors (front and back) to show that we are not hiding anything and villagers can see that we are not doing anything “bad”. As well visitors should leave our home till 10 pm. We were surprised about such changes, because when we moved in, nobody told us, that it’s not allowed to have visitors in the evening (owner just told us, that male can’t stay overnight here, except if it’s relatives). All 4 months we had visitors – nothing happened, owner didn’t say anything and suddenly it became the “huge thing”. Also we didn’t understand why they talk with our guests, not with us about “new rules”.

We tried to figure out which our behavior could rise such changes. And we could think about 2 cases: 1. Once our local friend was smoking in the kitchen with open back door a little after 10 pm and one villagers was just passing by (in the back door was a small path to pass people to their houses) and saw him. 2. We had massage course in our home, came couple males, females (all foreigners), we stayed longer than we planned (till ~10.30 pm) and maybe talked a bit louder than usual. But are both case so “bad”?

What happen next? Almost 1 week after that “event”, local man were spying on our house every evening (in opposite street), owner husband was coming to our place at ~9 pm, knocking the door and asking our guest leave (even didn’t wait till 10 pm, probably wanted to go sleep earlier :D). Like we didn’t accept to open every time our doors when he have guest, owner was coming and remind us about “new rule”. We couldn’t live like this, without any privacy, all the time under pressure of community. We went to talk with our Darmasiswa program coordinator, explained what happened and asked come together to community leader to talk directly what is the situation about.

Leader explained that there are rule in this RT, that visitors can’t stay longer than after 10 pm and somebody saw that we have visitors later. Those people were “afraid” that our behavior can influence the local teenagers and etc. He asked to follow the rules and that’s all.

Next day we went to owner asking her to “protect” us in front of villagers, like we don’t do anything bad, if somebody doesn’t have what to do just gossiping it’s not our problems. Especially when in opposite street lives foreigner couples, holding parties and nobody said anything to them. But later we figure out that, next street is already another RT, so another rules, more flexible and we were just unlucky to live in strict RT. The owner told that she can’t do anything; we just need to live like this for a while. But we weren’t happy about it. We started to think about moving out and ask to give back half of paid money. We didn’t know where and how we will move yet, but live like this wasn’t normal for us.

Couple days later we asked one of university “buddies” to help us to translate to owner that if situation won’t change we are ready to move out and we want get money back. During the talk with the owner we figure out some interesting “facts” that was told for “buddy”.

Our house was built on the land that belongs to couple of the same family relatives, who lives almost next to owner’s house. Relatives are jealous for our owner that she rented a place for the foreigners (it means got more money). So they started to make “problems” to the owner (as well she told that it’s not first time, when relatives tries to harm). Everything it’s not because of our behavior, but because of relationship between families, we were just not lucky, probably any other foreigners who would live there would sooner or later had the same situation.

As well when we asked to give back half of the sum that we paid, they didn’t agree (of course who would? :D). They told that we moving out because of our own decision, they asked as to stay. But we told that with such living condition we can’t stay if owner won’t protect us. We suggested to take money only for 6 months that we won’t stay, even if we are moving after 4 months, not 6. We suggested to leave during 1 week, so they can find other people to rent – but they were stubborn. Even when the owner already agreed but the son didn’t allow to give back money. After couple of hours talking, making jokes of us in Indonesian they told us that all money they already spend and they don’t have any. They could give a little bit only after 4 months and then later the rest of the sum. We didn’t agree-we needed money now, because we will need to pay for the place renting now. Finally they told they will give money but only 7 000 000 Rp. When we asked why not 7 500 000 Rp, they told that they got only 14 00 000 Rp. What we figure out?  The student from ISI who helped us to rent this place, took commission from owner 1 000 000 Rp. When we asked him to negotiate the price, he told that it’s not possible, but it was possible, he just wanted that money for himself. Another fact – when we wanted to signed the contract before moving in, that student told that it’s not necessary, it’s not polite and etc. Now we know why he told like this, he wouldn’t get any commissions! So the lesson to learn – contract is necessary, to avoid all situations like we had, to be clear how much money paid and it’s totally normal and polite!

When we agreed finally about amount that they will give us back, they asked us to move during 1 week and the money they will try to collect as soon as possible, at least half of the sum during that week, and rest of the sum later. But suddenly next day they already had all the amount (yeah, and somebody told that they don’t have money to return :D).

Like in January was holidays in university, 3 of us already had plans to travel. So we agreed with some friends that we leave our stuff for a while in their places and after the trip, will take it back.

I was traveling almost 3 weeks in Lombok island and left my stuffs in my friends Debby’s place (by the way I meet her through couchsurfing.com as well :). When I came back, she hosted me till I found the “big tent” :). We visited some places but not many options left – it was middle of study year, the places were or not very good, expensive or they asked to rent for 1 year. It’s pity but 3 of us didn’t find a place stay together so we moved to separate places.

But now I feel really happy – no problems with neighbors, the RT leader and community is quite flexible. But still I’m quite polite, if I make any party, I always inform the owner that will come more people and maybe we will stay till late.

What’s left “behind”?

We speak with several local friends about our entire story with first house and we found out interesting things.

First of all, some local people – who are childish – are jealous to those who can speak with foreigners in English, especially if it’s man from another community or village. That’s why (probably) the neighbors in first house, when recently saw that some local friends visit us – was a bit jealous to those guys and started to observe our house more.

Second, some Indonesians friend from other islands told us, that Javanese usually will smile to your face but in back of you will gossip about you, well they aren’t totally wrong just it happens not only with Javanese but other people as well. In Javanese traditional clothes, the knife “kris” is hidden in the back, when in other islands is in front. It means behind the politeness and hospitality of Javanese they are still similar with other people, that can react hardly if they didn’t get respect or other people insult them. Javanese people who put their knife in the back – in their traditional clothes, can mean that their not so straight, like people from other Indonesian islands, who put the knife in the front. It’s possible to make connection with our owner behavior – she was very nice, but when some things happened she didn’t want to take responsibility that she didn’t inform us about the rules, when saw that in the beginning some friends stays longer never told as anything.


Have you ever experience anything like that? What are your experiences renting a house abroad?

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First days in Indonesia

After I landed in Jakarta I had first meeting with “Indonesia” – taxi drivers just stuck to me suggesting bring me anywhere I want, money exchange ladies were shouting and inviting to change money in their place, oily food smell everywhere, it was terrible hot…

It was hard to find Darmasiswa students waiting spot (even if it was described in information letter). Finally after I found the place I saw many other students standing in the line and waiting for their registration. After couple of hours in airport we moved to Jakarta hotel where the Darmasiswa scholarship opening ceremony was held.

I was totally tired, didn’t want to meet any new people, hungry… just wanted to finish everything quick and go to sleep ;).

Those couples of program orientation days were usual. Long program, many slippages, not enough food for everyone, some useful information, many questions and etc. I didn’t get out from the hotel at all, I just participating in the program and was sleeping :D.

Finally, after meeting with my university program coordinator and other selected students for ISI Yogyakarta, we started our trip to new “hometown”. First the flight from Jakarta to Yogyakarta was delay for ~ 6 hours (oh it’s so common here, delay the flights), so instead of coming at day time, we arrived quite late and very tired.

We stayed in hostel for 3 nights and during that time all of us needed to find the place to live. Everyone did what they thought is the best way to find the place – some checking ads in internet, others – already had some places to visit and etc.

First day, me, Slovakian and Greek girls decided just go by foot to university and walking around streets ask people if somebody renting the place. We first met “Indonesian way” to explain the route. When we asked one local how far is the university from our hostel – he told ~20 min. So we were happy to have not long walk. On the way we asked one person – he gave one directions, we asked another – he gave different one. So we decided just to go straight all the time and we will find something :). Finally after walking ~ 1,5 hour on the dusty parts of the road (no pedestrian paths) we reached the university (20 min. to university it would be by motorbike – nobody told us about it, like Indonesians not used to walk, so all distances they calculate by motorbike:)). We met with previous Darmasiswa student looked her place, stayed there for a while, asked many questions, were walking around and decided that on the way back, we will go inside small streets and search for places. Instead of 1,5 hour straight walk to hostel, we took ~3 hours of walk in small streets – but didn’t find anything.

Next day, the university arranges for us a bus to bring to university area, meet with local students (program “buddies”) who helped us during first days – searching places, sharing advices. After lunch I agreed with one “buddy” to take me with motorbike to see the houses. Couple of hours he was driving me from one place to another – but I couldn’t choose the place, like one of them were very dirty, another with strict living rules, thirds near main roads and etc. I saw maybe 6 houses at that time. In the evening we meet with other students and share our experiences. Some of students already agreed who with whom will live; others already had found some place. I was still without the result. And in the evening I got SMS from one couchsurfing.com member – Hendra (by the way I wrote for ~25 people from Yogyakarta, only 5 replied – I didn’t ask for host just to meet, share advices and etc.:))., that he is near our hostel and maybe I would like to meet for a while. I didn’t have any other plans, so I agreed, I needed to think about something else than “how to find the place”. We had nice couple of hours of talk in one local “warung”. Unfortunately he didn’t have any ideas if anybody rents any place, but suggested his help in a future if I would need to go somewhere or take something.

On 3rd day I agreed to meet one local couple that I met in couchsurfing.com – Irma and Otong. They came to pick up me in hostel, we went to eat and they suggested to visit some renting places – unfortunately those places were too expensive. We had really nice time together and from that time our friendship began :). A bit later with “buddies” we went to see couple houses near university. I really loved one place – new house, near ISI, totally empty, but till that time it was the best option :). I didn’t just have with who to move in, like house was with 3 rooms. But later I agreed with Hungarian girl (Mesi) to live together and we were missing one more person (other students already had roommates). But we were lucky, like last day of our stay in hostel came one more Darmasiswa student from Poland (Karolina) – who joined us for renting a place. But I got sick – fever, flue and other stuffs. How it’s possible in tropical country? Easy! Outside is very hot, in any inside place all the time works air-conditioner with almost maximum power, changed surrounding, new food and etc. So, my immunity system just “broke” ;).

We moved from hostel on 4th day in the morning with all our stuffs, but really not agreed with house owner about the price. It was a bit expensive – 1 500 000 Rp for 1 year, we tried negotiate – but she didn’t give up. We decided to move in even for such amount, like we didn’t have any other place to move and we needed to stay somewhere. But I felt very bad and couldn’t stay in a place where even wasn’t a mattress to lie down. I asked Irma and Otong, if they could host me for couple of days in their place till I will get better and for them were ok. During those couple of days, I spend almost all the time in a bed, drinking medicine, when I felt better Otong helped me to buy some things for a house and I joined the girls who already stayed there from the first moved day.

First’s days in Indonesia were exhausted but interesting. Even if it was very hot, nobody properly were speaking in English, we didn’t know what to order to eat (everything was written in Indonesian language), I got sick but..I was very excited; everything looked so new, I was wondering and analyzing everything, meeting local people (Hendra, Irma and Otong) and just enjoyed the “new life” :).

Some moments from daily life after I settle in Yogyakarta (sorry, the pictures quality not the best one, like at that time I didn’t have yet my camera) :).


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