Monday, April 06, 2009

The Web

What web am I talking about here? A country's systemic web. A country's system is like an intricate spider web with many fine threads here and there to support the whole thing. If a country's system is to be changed, then there will be SO MANY threads to change. Otherwise, the change won't work.

This is what came into my mind when I compare Indo versus Finnish system. Not to mention the differences in mentality and customs/tradition also play a huge part in creating these webs. Take for example queueing in the toilets. Here EVERYBODY knows already that it's "the custom", but in Indo, even until now it's not a custom yet. And how are you going to change that? EVERYBODY needs to change, too. It's not going to work if you're doing it all alone.

A friend mentioned to me that she felt "more at home" in Holland since in her opinion, Indo people (esp. the Chinese) hold on to this so much: "
You are what you have, you are what you achieve."

Another friend who lives in Indo told me something that is related to the above statement. Her hubby decided to stop working for a company and started selling noodles in a kiosk. However, turned out my friend's family considered that profession to be an embarrassment to them (an ugly stain for the whole family). I can't believe that they feel that way!!! Unbelievable ego!!!

But then again, the problem in Indo is that...because the social system isn't as advanced as in Finland (for example), to gain financial security is really something that (in a way) will make your life easier. And since the salary standard in Indo is SOOOOOOOO unpredictable (unlike in Finland), people will tend to want to get the best salary/job of all.

Take this for my fave beauty salon in Indo, I only have to pay around €5 for a haircut (and wash). Here in Finland, if I want to have a haircut and wash, I have to pay at least €25. And I know here in Finland that the hourly wage for a cleaner is around €7-9, but what about in Indo? I bet the standard salary for a cleaner is only around €50 per month (not sure but it's my rough estimation).

Here in Finland since the salary range is standardized and there are many benefits here and there, even if you work as a cleaner, you can still enjoy life. Plus since the tax system is good, even after you retire, you can also live without having to worry too much about money.

But in Indo, even after you no longer have the energy to work, you either have to have enough savings to support yourself for the rest of your life or you have to depend on your kids to live or you've got to have your own running company whose manager is now one of your kids - and only then you can enjoy life without worrying about money.

So it's all connected to one another - this intricate web. To change the view of a nation means changing these intricate threads, but it's not so easy, because there are so many tiny tiny threads that make up this web. I think it'd take a few generations to change this web. What do you think?


  1. Hey Amel,

    I agree with you, it will take a few generations to change Indo's (and other countries like it) mentality.

    Cultural factors are hard to fight against; but they are not impossible to change. The issue is that people often think that by change we mean "your culture is not good enough" or "we are ashamed by it" and it is not true.
    Change is good; adapting to modern times is crucial - otherwise development won't take place.

    Give it a few more years and some well intended politicians and you will see that Indo will be a nation you can be even more proud of :D!

    Have a blessed week, darling!


  2. I agree with you that it's sad that a family thought they were being "stained" because of your friend's decision to sell noodles. She probably liked that better than what she was doing before.
    I think I would rather live in Finland than Indonesia, but that's simply my opinion.

  3. Although everything is expensive than Indonesia, I rather to live in the netherlands ;)

  4. Very interesting, Amel.I have some links for you, but will send them by email.

  5. Hi Amel,

    A very thought provoking piece. I think one of the things that comes to mind, aside from the obvious differences in culture, is the capacity of the existing governments to share their willingness to change with the people they govern. How has corruption played a part in the paralysis of growth and change? Some regimes are quite happy to have the people remain stagnant and uneducated. It is easier for them to control. I think it is people like you, who have moved beyond your birth borders and witnessed first hand how much better life can be in a democratic society to help foster those changes. And you have started right here with this post. Keep up the good work.

  6. Hi Amel…

    I thought I would beam over to say hi….

    Interesting post…the contrast in cultures etc also is a complex web…In Canada we are immensely pragmatic. Even when things are very good we look at them critically…which helps us progress but can also make things seem that they are not as good as they are…

    I am interested in what a person such as yourself would think of other countries that perhaps you don’t have first hand experience with (Canada etc)…after all I know I have perceptions about Indo or Finland that are probably off base as I have not been to either country but have still traveled widely…

    Anyways it is nice just to come over to your place and smell the baking…mmm nice…

  7. A very interesting post, one that has made me think. Cultural practice has taken generations to establish, so it's unlikely to change in a short time.

    I came here via SlogBite. :)

  8. Max: THANKS for sharing your view. Indeed it's not impossible to change, but it takes every single person to do it. :-))))

    Vince: Yeah, I felt SO angry when I heard about my friend's experience.

    Jul: Yeah, I know what you mean he he he...

    Michelle: THANKS SO MUCH for the links!!! :-D

    Bogey: Ah, corruption is a HUGE problem in Indonesia, unfortunately, though lately the government is trying hard to battle it, but I think it still takes a long time to eradicate it. THANKS for your encouragement!!!

    LS: Hmmm...I don't know what to say about countries that I don't have first hand experience with, except for some countries I have heard about (some friends live abroad in different countries), but I try to keep my mind open 'coz it's SO hard to understand the intricacies of the "web" without living in the country for some time.

    GLAD you enjoyed visiting my blog, LS! :-D

    Sheila: THANKS for your visitttt...I'll come visit you back! :-D

  9. Celestine Yoviana17 April 2009 at 15:34

    Hi amel,

    I'm Indonesian living in Romania, Michelle lead me to you.

    I'm totally agree with you, our country system is so bad, it's so sad..yeah it'll take few generations to change that, but also we need a really good leader.

    Btw i've added you on my fb. It's celestine yoviana.

    I have to go now, i'll come visit you back...^ ^

    Interesting Blog ... :)

  10. Celestine Yoviana: Ahhh...I should thank Michelle for leading you to me. :-))))

    Glad you enjoyed my blog. It's funny that you're actually my cousin's friend hi hi hi...:-D