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Practical Information for foreigners, expats and expatriates moving to Indonesia - find out about housing, schooling, transport, shopping and more to prepare you for your stay in Indonesia

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expatriate information for Indonesia

  • If when you return to your native country you speak broken English for the next month
  • If you say Aduh or Astaga when you are surprised about something instead of saying 'Oh my goodness!'
  • If you carry a small bottle of hand sanitizer around in your bag all the time
  • If you sit on the street and eat with your hands rather than in a restaurant with a knife and fork
  • If you sit on the back of a motorbike as a passenger and don't have to hold on to anything
  • If you know every gang (alleyway) to slip down on your motorbike in Kuta to escape the police
  • If you know that when the sky is full of stars it is going to pour so you prepare your rain poncho early
  • If when you meet up with your Western friends in indonesia and greet them with Pagi...Apa kabar instead of 'Good Morning. How are you?'
  • If you now acknowledge your bed could just be a mattress on the floor
  • If you now consider a hose on a rusty nail with cold water adequate to shower
  • You can sleep in a room where lots of mosquitoes are flying.
  • Even when the light for the pedestrians is green, you still looking left and right before you cross.
  • you have lots of credit cards but most of them are over limit (that's ok, they're just for showing off anyway)
  • instead of going to Ranch Market, or Hero, or carrefour, you buy your veggies from the tukang sayur
  • You have a pet orangutan in your back garden and a stuffed, mounted Sumatran tiger in your office.
  • You believe you will never end up in jail because you are rich.
  • You believe that 'cut-off your nose to spite your face' is axiomatic of the path of the wise man.
  • You wear a thick coat on your motorcycle, to deflect the heat
  • You impress your neighbours with photos of yourself drinking coffee with piles of cream and sticky sweet stuff on it in Starbucks
  • You think a pair of fake RayBans is perfectly adequate for preventing arc-eye when welding
  • You never question why every garden gate you've ever seen (and most other steel things) is made from distinctive stolen rebar steel
  • Anyone can tell you enjoy riding your motorcycle, because you have squashed bugs stuck all over your teeth (conjure a picture)
  • You read the expat forum, and wonder were your grammer and speling was ever be so good as wot them am
  • You wonder why your Mum doesn't want your new recipe for fish head curry (oops sorry, I already wrote that one 5 years ago)
  • You have a pair of new BMW 7 series in the drive, but no food in the fridge
  • You have no idea why white people glare at you when you wear your Osama t-shirt
  • Alcohol-free wedding receptions that last 25 minutes no longer seem weird
  • You finally found a couple of maids that will stay, because they understand that Batak women are not permanently looking for a fight, but just talking really really loudly
  • You have learned to lip-read, because you can't tell whether the sound is on or off when watching TV in a Batak household
  • You automatically hide your supply of 21 year old Macallan whisky when you hear your father-in-law is on the way to your house
  • You dream in Jakarta slang
  • You think BATS is kampungan because they don't sell teh botol
  • It is classy to be seen paying $18 for the "international buffet", but you still load your plate up with nasi goreng and krupuk
  • You think the best bit of a chicken is that crunchy stuff on the end of the leg bones
  • Your wife keeps her engagement ring at Bank Mandiri
  • Your idea of a good joke is to lie about your age, or to call oxtail soup "sop pantat"
  • You gape at white foreigners as if they have rabbits growing out of their heads.
  • You believe that lies are good and truth is dumb.
  • You prefer warm beer and even warm water because cold beverages could cause 'masuk angin'.
  • The correct way to serve beer to your expatriate friends is to toss in a few chunks of e-coli infested ice.
  • You regard chicken heads and claws as a tasty treat - but consider McDonald's even more classy.
  • When cooking rice you add a generous handful of gravel for roughage.
  • You think nothing of borrowing money from an expatriate and never repaying it.
  • As a contestant on Famili 100, you clap your hands enthusiastically and smile happily, even though your answer was incorrect.
  • You can safely alight from a speeding MetroMini but still feel uneasy about using an escalator.
  • You believe spitting should be done as noisily as possible on every conceivable occasion.
  • You wash your genitals in the office urinals.
  • You are embarrassed to buy condoms but think it's cool to show them to your male friends.
  • You fantasize about Inul Daratista.
  • When buying food at the warung, you consider it perfectly normal behavior to push ahead of any expatriate stupid enough to be waiting to be served.
  • You start to believe the positive hype about Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, forgetting that people also once praised Wiranto, Prabowo and Suharto.
  • The main reason you wear a jilbab outdoors is to avoid sunburn and pollution. And because it has a nice Hello Kitty print.
  • A slumber party involves your friends coming over for a meal of rice and talking noisily while watching an action movie. Then everyone sleeps on a single woven mat on the tiled floor.
  • Your plastic wall clock chimes tinny nursery-rhyme tunes every hour.
  • Your idea of an exciting night's entertainment is to squat on the kerb and watch traffic and pedestrians go by.
  • You begin to suspect that most politicians/civil servants might be evil corrupters, but you still reverentially cringe, bow and scrape when meeting them.
  • You think a Communist is a 'bad person' but have absolutely no idea what Communism is.
  • You no longer make calls on your handphone but simply send SMSs.
  • You see nothing wrong with mobbing a cigarette thief to death on the street, but wouldn't dream of protesting against corrupt government officials who steal billions.
  • You think Mr Bean is hilarious but can longer understand the complex humor of Black Adder.
  • You think the main prerequisites for Indonesian presidential candidates are: singing and dancing with sultry dangdut singers; provision of free T-shirts; and lying and cheating.
  • Educational television commercials have convinced you that your baby won't grow up to be healthy, strong and clever unless raised on expensive powdered milk formula products, because breast-feeding is just totally kampungan.
  • You don't care about horrendous destruction of the environment or Indonesia's reputation as one of the most corrupt countries in the world.
  • You no longer consider it strange that Jalan Sabang has 35 parking attendants, yet the worst traffic congestion in Jakarta.
  • You believe that cheeseburgers and french fries are 'light food' that don't fill you up or make you fat (as opposed to anything served with rice)
  • You go to McDonalds and order fried chicken and rice
  • You serve important visitors to your home KFC as a status symbol
  • When traveling in an un-airconditioned vehicle you insist on a window seat . . . so that you can ensure that it is CLOSED (and thus avoid getting masuk angin from the breeze)
  • You feel uncomfortable going out into the heat and humidity of Jakarta wearing shorts, sandals, and a t-shirt.
  • You introduce your current girlfriend to male acquaintances, who also happen to be on a first name basis with your wife
  • Your car costs more than your house
  • You have two cars and no garage
  • The cost of your handphone is equal to 2 months salary
  • You buy a new handphone twice per year
  • You wear your handphone around your neck on a little chain
  • You rate a given handphone's value as a status symbol by the number of extra features that you will never use.
  • You believe that Nokia is superior to all other handphones brands because . . . well, because other people think Nokia is better.
  • You think Anyer is a beautiful, romantic, quiet place for a weekend getaway.
  • You believe that any woman with very light colored skin is extraordinarily beautiful, but any woman with dark skin, no matter how beautiful is at best only a 'sweet darkie'.

Our thanks to Tupairoy for his posting on the Expat Forum which initiated this thread in the Expat Forum , and to subsequent contributions from Max and Dave.

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Housing and schooling information for expats in Indonesia expatriate website for Indonesia Indonesian language translation of article

Practical Information for foreigners, expats and expatriates moving to Indonesia - find out about housing, schooling, transport, shopping and more to prepare you for your stay in Indonesia

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