Because We Forget to Smile

Posted on: April 21, 2008

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 🙂


20 Responses to "Because We Forget to Smile"

I think PMP had unpredictable answers than the questions, especially butir-butir pancasila…phuhhhh 😀

When I was in “Sekolah Kepribadian” 7 years ago, the tutor explained me about the importance of facial expression and how does it impact on other ppl. And ‘smile’, she said, is the most important thing. But still, I’m not the type of person who loves to smile. I knew smiling is not a difficult thing to do and I knew smile is free, but seriously, for me it’s hard to smile. I don’t smile unless I’m really happy about something and when I’m not smiling, it’s not because I don’t have anything to smile about. I just feel.. a little bit stupid when I smile 😦

Your facial expression shows what you really feel although we have to note that some people are smart enough to hide their suffering and smile a lot. How could people smile if they have three hungry children at home?

I still got your point though. I used to be very reluctant to smile, but people change, I smile a lot now, wide and big one. 😆 If you smile you could expect people around you smile, it is about bringing happiness to your surrounding I think.

It’s me again.

Well, my life is full of smiling. I mean it. A few days ago I write a post about smiling to PAK SATPAM. it’s about my consideration on how people treat Pak Satpam.

For me, Smile can transfer a bunch of energy in the form of AFFECTION to other people whom we’re smile to.

The more we smile, the merrier energy we transfer to other among us… likewise, they will do the same, and will transfer a bunch of affection energy to us… Imagine how much energy we got by just a simple smile to pak satpam in the morning… 🙂

Yeah, big things begin from a small thing, and a small thing begin from our initiative to start first. Not wait for others to smile first…

(ahhhm jadi teringat AA Gym… 3 M… Mulai dari yang terkecil… Mulai dari diri sendiri… dan… Melihat kekiri dan kekana jika ingin menyeberang… Halahhhh, salah focus, hehehe 🙂 )

So let’s start from our self… 🙂


OOT… pardon my grammer yach… since English is not our mother tounge, and I never go to abroad, neither taking an english language course… so, I’m not good in grammer. (But still have to practice to use it, because one had told me, languange would be useless if we never practice)

So.. maafkan yach, hehehe… 🙂

I remember when I was in Gunung Kidul doing KKN (Kuliah Kerja Nyata) program, people there are so nice. I am so tired cause every time I have to smile and nodding my head and say, “Monggo!” to everyone I met. Tired, but happy.

Maybe selling t-shirt with a big yellow smiley will help Jakarta people to smile more … hehehe j/k.

I smile alot. Sometimes it’s annoying and people have actually scolded me for smiling…. especially when I’m punished… :p

I think the phenomenon of people not smiling is not unique to Jakarta.
It’s just the result of urbanized cities.

But a good call nontheless.
I totally agree we should all smile a lot more.


ya Tuhan, gak sangka gue bergaul ma orang yang mata pelajaran favoritnya PMP (sekarang PPKN namanya) hahaha :mrgreen:

gak susah sih senyum itu asalkan emang waktunya pas untuk senyum dan mood lagi ngedukung. secara survey, laki-laki hanya senyum kira-kira 8 kali sehari sementara perempuan senyum kira-kira 60 kali sehari, jadi gue maklum kalo GBM kurang minat senyum, lah di fotonya aja jarang senyum koks 😆

buat gue pribadi, senyum itu macam2 bentuknya tergantung dari suasana hati juga misal ada senyum malu, senyum sedih, senyum bahagia, senyum basa basi, senyum formil, senyum nahan ketawa, dll…..cuma yang paling enak dilakukan dan dipandang adalah senyum tulus.

senyum adalah ibadah.

saya malah kalo senyum kadang dibilang senyum jahat. 😆


senyum jahat sih menyeringai maksudnya ya?

ah gak percaya, lah wong di fotonya senyum manis kok :mrgreen:

Yes, aku setuju sama kamu untuk kasih senyuman ke orang-orang kalo lagi di jalan.
Ya, asal orang yang dikasih senyum ngga salah paham, hoho …

Smile is a curve that sets everything straight …. 😉

kak tasa, setuju neh! yay!
areta juga suka senyum.
sebenernya yah, kalo ketemu orang di jalan, terus kita senyumin, kita tuh dianggep aneh. bener deh. ini berdasarkan pengalaman pribadi. emang sih, mayoritas orang yang areta senyumin bakal bales senyum (bercampur bingung), tapi ada juga orang yang kaget dulu sebelum senyum balik, bahkan ada yang kaget lalu bingung sampe gak sempet bales senyum! hah!
kadang, areta juga segen sih mau senyumin orang. abis, baru lewat aja udah diledekin “cina, cina…”. kemaren ada yang bilang “ni hao ma?” (ajaibnya, pribumi itu bisa mengucapkan kalimat itu dengan nada yang benar). jadi kujawab “wo hen hao” sambil senyum. kalo uda gitu, suasana bisa jadi cair. daripada abis diledekin, main ngeloyor pergi aja. hehehe…
so, biar orang2 di sekitar kita jadi murah senyum, kita kudu jadi pelopor. SENYUM DULUAN! lagian, kan bahagia rasanya dapet senyum balesan. terus, kalo ada orang yang lagi gundah hatinya, tiba2 dapet senyum tulus manis dari kita, tentu hatinya ke-refresh jadi lebih ringan bebannya. ya toh?

Indeed, when I lived in a small suburbia in California two years ago, I used to go to school and back home on foot. Therefore I could engage myself in a long conversation with my friends or at least listen to my own thoughts as I sometimes went home by myself. And as I walked, sometimes I passed some neighbors or just somebody else walking down the streets, and they would always say, “Hi, how’re you doing?”, “have a nice day!”, or just simply smile at me. And I thought, ‘whoa, and we thought we were the friendly nation?’

I mean, when I walk down the streets in Indonesian cities like Bandung or Jakarta, it’s very rare to see someone smile at you – just for the sake of being friendly-, let alone saying hi and asking how you’re doing. And even if somebody deed, that person usually ‘mas-mas’ who smiles ‘mesum’-ly to you. Which is annoying. (pardon the lousy language. haha!)

May be life is just too hard in Indonesia that we simply forget to be a ‘friendly nation’ nowadays?

uhm, I mean ‘even if somebody did…’ (on my comment above)

haha! feel so stupid. =)

Itu pengecualian. 😆

I experienced the same thing every time I went to Vienna to visit my sister. She also lives in suburbia. Whenever we met people on the road, they always said “God Bless You” and gave us their smile.

dimengerti 😆

i just find out a good quotation about smile from Icha Duma’s and here it is:

Some smiles are sarcastic. Some smiles are artificial-diplomatic smiles. These smiles do not produce satisfaction, but rather fear or suspicion. But a genuine smile gives us hope, freshness. If we want a genuine smile, then first we must produce the basis for the smile to come. — Dalai Lama

linknya :

For a certain situation, if I had to choose sarcastic or artificial-diplomatic, i’ll choose latter. Sure, genuine one is the best, but artificial-diplomatic is better than no smile :mrgreen:

hi Mr, Tasa, I like this article, it is simple but strong. hehehe
well, when i was learning PMP (pelajaran moral pancasila), it was about route memorizing.a text that should be memorized by student. and the student who had a strong memory and try to recalled what they memorized, he / she would be regarded as the best student, no matter whether his moral good or not. i think, the education that time was trapped to route memorization and text book only. it was to bad.
about smile, i personally agree that smile is inherently good. in my religion, give smile to other people is even regarded as ibadah. but wait a minute, in saudi arabia, housemaid who smile to his employer, often regarded as “lampu hijau” for him to approach her sexually. here, smile is regarded not just smile. that is why, there is a common word from Indonesian maids, that smile in front of employers will be dangerous. smile may be associated with sex. puihhhhhhhhhhhhhh…in the country where religion is important one, i even can not smile, because if I smile, they will associate it with sex. (this is if i put my self as a maids who are dominated by womed).

housemaid who smile to her**** employer

smile! then the world will open their arms wide…. =)

gimana kalo kita kampanye ‘senyum’ dan ‘menyapa orang dengan senyum’ ?

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guebukanmonyet is Tasa Nugraza Barley. He's a free man with unique thoughts and dreams. He sees his life and this world differently from anyone else. That's because he knows what he wants; and for that reason he doesn't want to be the same. Read why he blogs, here.

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