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Many readers will have seen the Youtube videos “How to act Indonesian” by the extremely perceptive and talented Sacha Stevenson. Among her many works, my favourites would have to be Indonesian rubbish disposal and “Hello Mr, photo?” and Sudanese keeping their dirt clean.

But seriously, does behaving like that make you a more normal Indonesian? There are three problems in answering that question.

One is that, as the previous post suggested, you would need to be measured against many factors to get a reliable picture of how normal you are. Simply dropping rubbish doesn’t make you more a more normal Indonesian if you are also a giant green orangutan.

Another is that what is normal is different from what is real. A normal Indonesian family has about four children, but in reality no Indonesian family has this inexact number of children, they have 0, 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5 children (and sometimes many more).

The third problem is that, speaking as a bule (foreigner) and with great affection, the words “normal” and “Indonesia” don’t belong in the same sentence!

And so, whether or not you think Sacha accurately describes a normal Indonesian or not, the wonderful thing is that the Indonesians you meet will never be completely like that. Sometimes Indonesians might be even more like that and sometimes very different from that, but that is what makes Indonesia (and Indonesians) the amazingly diverse country and people that they are.

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