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Culture Crossing Juni 26, 2008

Posted by finallywoken in Uncategorized.
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Culture Crossing is a place where you could learn about other countries’ culture, custom and etiquettes. Its founder came across my original blog and asked if I could help them filling the blanks in Indonesia or Scotland’s section.

The website consists of 3 parts: basic, business, and students. In each section we would learn to understand how to greet men or women, how to dress properly according the occasion, how to distribute our business cards, what’s considered taboo, and so on.

For example, on Scotland’s section I found out that it is considered rude to turn down a drink offer. Oh gosh, I have done it so many times. Of course I didn’t mean to be rude. I simply couldn’t keep up with others in terms of drinking speed. They drink like inhaling water, and if I did it, I’d be drunk quickly! When you’re in Kazakhstan, for example. don’t even think to hook your two fingers together, as it’s considered as an obscene gesture. Or don’t put your hands in your pockets while talking to someone when you’re in Hungary, as it’s considered rude.

Since I am Indonesian, I told them I’d help with Indonesia. And I thought, ‘piece a cake, what don’t I know about my own country?”.

Well, turns out it wasn’t easy! I don’t have sociology or anthropology background and only had 1 subject about behavioral science back when I was in university. And as far as I know, even though I have lived in Indonesia for over 30 years, I’m not really Indonesian, if you know what I mean. I don’t bow when I speak to the elders, I shake hands with no hesitance and don’t put my palm close to my heart, I hug and cheek-kisses, and other sort of things lots of Indonesians wouldn’t do. No wonder my aunties think I’m rude…

After several hours, I sent the reply to the administrator and said that this was the best I can do. But yes, there are still some blank pages they need to fill. So feel free to contact them to offer your help.

Personally I think the website is useful to help us understanding other countries, especially expatriates who must adjust and adapt their adopted country’s culture quickly.

I am thinking about putting the link of the similar websites on this forum. So if you come across one, please let me know.



1. Andie Summerkiss - Juni 27, 2008

I agree with you. I was asked by somebody just a couple of days ago .. “What is Indonesia’s national animal?” and “Do you guys have a national flower?”

I had to pretend not hearing. I then made a mental note to google it as soon as I get to the office. How embarrassing is that?

Before learning more about other’s culture, I really should start finding out more about ourselves’.

2. Finally Woken - Juni 27, 2008

Andie, then it means we have to dedicate one section for Indonesia’s facts & figure…. to be honest I don’t know either about the national animal and flower! Jeez we’re an embarrassment for our own country!

3. Andie Summerkiss - Juni 28, 2008


I think that’s a great idea. Maybe we can gather unique information on IndoExpat’s visitors. Let me figure something out.

4. dinysays - Juni 30, 2008

Anita, thank you much for finding that website. I was just checking it out and to my surprise, it was indeed an interesting blog! So yeah, I signed up but no contribution yet, he he…

5. Heru Rishardana - Juli 1, 2008

Hi Mbak This is a good idea.
It’ll help a lot for people to understand some of the unique ways of different people.

Our foreigner boss in Jakarta once playfully slap the backside of my friend’s head. There’s nothing malice in there because he didn’t know. But my friend was flipped and ask for a personal meeting to discuss the matter 😀

Well I guess, there are several customs here in Indonesia that people might want to know. For example how we consider left hand to be unclean so better not pass the food or stuff with it.

Also for some reason we consider people who put their hands on hip as arrogant, ‘silly’ little stuff like that.

One thing that some of my foreigner friends keep asking me is why some Indonesian doesn’t use ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ as often as we should. I guess it’s related to our custom of using Dong, Sip, Otre, and other expressions as a substitute. Or maybe some of us are just plain rude 😀

6. therry - Juli 2, 2008

Isn’t our national animal the Garuda bird? lol

Man I’m just as bad…

Reading Heru’s comment, I’m reminded of this time my International Student Co-ordinator was telling me off for something (can’t remember what) and she got even more furious when I didn’t look to her eyes.

She goes, “Therry! Look me in the eyes when I’m talking to you! It’s rude not to look at people’s eyes when they’re saying something to you.”

Which was appalling, since in Indonesia, when our parents/teachers tell us off, it’s considered rude to be staring back at them!! So I was actually being polite at that time lol

And once I got the hang of looking straight into people’s eyes, I can’t shake it off anymore 😛

7. domba garut! - Juli 17, 2008

Just like the saying: “When a finger points out, look at the other four points back at you” – I guess I myself had to do some research on our own before anything 😀

On another note, it is Garuda indeed… I think, I should not say it an Eagle, should I?

8. Nanik - Agustus 18, 2008


I just found your interesting blog. I like your writing style (as I am not a good writer).
I agree with others that Garuda is Indonesia’s National symbol,
as for the flower, I will pick orchid hahaha I think that is Thai’s symbol, isn’t it? I guess we don’t have one 😦

Greeting from the Emeral City of Seattle.
Salam kenal

9. bonnie2405 - Agustus 27, 2008

WE have one..I believe Jasmine is our national symbol for flower…or at least that what I remember or…hemm perhaps Rafflesia Arnoldi waaaah bunga bangkai dung…

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