Because We Forget to Smile
Posted April 21, 2008on:
As an elementary student in Indonesia Pelajaran Moral Pancasila (PMP) was my favorite. I loved it so much because the questions were so predictable. I didn’t have to study hard for every test because I just had to memorize all the things in the text book. When answering I added lots of unimportant things just to make my answers look long and sophisticated.
One of my all-time-favorite questions was that kind of question where I had to explain the nature of Indonesians. It was so easy because all my PMP teachers asked this kind of question all the time.
My answer would be like, “Indonesians are very nice people. We are tolerant, friendly, and helpful to others. That was the reason why the Netherlands was so much accepted when they first came to Indonesia, something that Indonesia would later regret for the next three centuries.”
But it’s sad to say that is not the kind of Indonesians I experienced in my six years of living in Jakarta. I didn’t see the nice and friendly Indonesians on the streets and at other various places. Everywhere I went I met people who were just too arrogant.
I’m not happy to tell you that after living less than two years in Washington, D.C. I’ve met more people smiling at me here than when I was in Jakarta. I know it’s not fair to compare Jakarta with Washington, D.C. since Jakarta is not just a capital city but also the center of business and economy.
I seriously think that Indonesians and people of Jakarta should smile more and be nice to others, even to people they meet randomly on the streets. I know it’s not easy since life is just so hard for most people in Indonesia. But smiling to others won’t make us poorer, will it? I don’t think so.
I still honestly think that most Indonesians are nice and friendly people. I remember when I visited Malang with my mother in 2003, people there were so warm, humble, and friendly. Maybe people in Jakarta can learn from people in small cities on how to smile more.
Jakarta with more smiles, will that be possible? It’s really up to us.
In my opinion, smiling is not a difficult thing to do. I don’t know if it is for some people. I know it’s not easy to smile when we’re sad, I’m not a smiling expert by the way. But, I know very well how Indonesians love to laugh so loud with their friends. I myself had the greatest time hanging out with friends in Jakarta and I know for sure how laughing so hard is part of our culture.
If we can be so much friendly to our friends, why not to other people too? You don’t have to laugh, a smile will be more than enough.
Having a dream to have a smiling society may sound funny but I do believe that Indonesians including people of Jakarta are the kind of people who love to be nice and friendly. It’s just the condition in Jakarta that’s just too hectic for most people: The traffic, the floods, the pollution, or the public transportation. All those things just make us forget how beautiful it is to smile 🙂