Indonesia – unity in diversity
Indonesia is an archipelago in south-eastern Asia, between the Indian and Pacific Oceans with a population of 247 million. The official language is Indonesian or Bahasa Indonesia, but due to the sheer size and fractured nature of the islands, most people speak regional dialects such as Minangkabau or Javanese. At work and school, Indonesian is used.
Indonesia is made up of over 17,500 islands, 6,000 of which are inhabited, and has over 300 ethnic groups. It is predominantly Muslim, but there are also a large number of Christians, Hindus and Buddhists and because of this linguistic and religious diversity, a national motto was devised – “Unity in Diversity” – and a national philosophy known as “Pancasila” has come into being which stresses justice for all Indonesians. People will define themselves according to their ethnic group, family and place of birth and there exists a strong pull towards the group, whether family, village or island.
Indonesians do not make hasty decisions because they might be viewed as not having given the matter sufficient consideration. “Jam Karet” (rubber time) describes the Indonesian approach to time, so be prepared to exercise patience. The attitude is that everything has its time and its place; time does not bring money, but good relations and harmony do.
A handshake is the most common greeting, accompanied by the word “Selamat”. Many Indonesians may give a slight bow or place their hands on their heart after shaking your hand. Some Indonesians only have one name, although it is becoming more common for people to have a first name and a surname, especially in the middle class. Many Indonesians, particularly those from Java, may have had an extremely long name, which was shortened into a sort of nickname for everyday conversation.
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Source: Kwintessential and Wikipedia
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