Indonesians say the darndest things

23 Aug

Here are a few of my favorite questions and comments so far (in no particular order):

“Where is your husband?”

“Your pimple is bigger….why?” This brought on the following conversation:

Teacher: “Maybe you miss your family.”
Me: “Yeah, that could be it, or maybe stress, or hormones. I don’t know.
Teacher: “Maybe this week is woman’s monthly disease?”
Me: “Umm… excuse me, what? I didn’t hear you.”
Teacher: “The sickness that women get every month.”
Me (lightbulb goes off, we are clearly talking about menstruation.): “Oh yes, that could be one reason. There are many reasons I might get a pimple.”

 “I hope that you want to sleep here, not just with me, but with the other teachers too.” — Male teacher inviting me to the 10th grade retreat at the school

“How is the economy in America?” Of all the questions you could have asked me, dear student, about life in America, you had to hit us where it hurts.

“I think we are couples. Me with my husband, my sister with her boyfriend, and you are lonely.” ‘Oh so very lonely,” is how it echoed in my mind. I’m so glad someone brought this up because I hadn’t noticed that before.

“Justin Bieber hampir sama Michael Jackson.” Translation: “Justin Bieber is almost the same as Michael Jackson.” This was followed by, “Have you met Michael Jackson?”

“How can husbands and wives be equal in America without there being absolute chaos?” — Teenage boy from an English Camp

“Why do Americans just have free sex, do drugs, drink alcohol…(and pretty much indulge in every other imaginable carnal sin, she listed quite a few) … all the time.” — Paraphrased from a sweet and soft-spoken Muslim teen wearing a jilbab and covered from head to toe. I guarantee you she’d been walking too much TV and American movies.  Sad, though, that this may be the only impression some Indonesians get of Americans.

And my personal favorite, from today:

“You look prettier today.”

Followed several minutes later by…

“You look fat[ter].”

It goes without saying that the two don’t go hand-in-hand in America.  What makes this even better is that my response to both, without hesitation, was an enthusiastic “Thank you.

What I love about all of these comments is they were posed with genuine curiosity by people I hardly know and who wouldn’t have thought twice about any of them being slightly out of line or culturally insensitive.  There’s also, I’m sure, some lost in translation as all were (except the one in Indonesian) coming from people trying to speak English. That doesn’t change the fact that they sound a little odd to American ears. So, there’s a little helping of cultural differences for ya. If you live in Indonesia, it helps to have a sense of humor because Indonesians will say the darndest things.

Aaand…. you might ask, what’s with the picture at the top of this post? I thought it was funny. That is all. Mouse over for a description. (P.S. if you haven’t noticed, most photos in my posts have additional captions when moused over.)

3 Responses to “Indonesians say the darndest things”

  1. court August 24, 2011 at 10:28 am #

    i lol’d at the micheal jackson justin bieber one haha

  2. Danielle August 30, 2011 at 4:02 pm #

    I was laughing reading this…we are so far apart and living in completely different worlds, yet they are so similar! These conversations/comments are the same that I have had!


  1. Indonesians say the darndest things: round two « the personette - January 30, 2012

    […] in case you missed round one, you can check it out here. Also every now and then Elle has some funny images on her photo blog Fresh to Death (and just […]

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