|Indonesia is the fourth
most populous nation in the world with a population of more than
210 million people occupying its thousands of islands. The country
is a melting pot for more than 350 ethnic groups, the majority of
whom are of Malay ancestry: Javanese,
Sundanese and Madurese.
Indonesians are very traditional. They consider
politeness and courtesy as important values, and
discourage public displays of emotion. That doesn't mean that they
are inflexible and stiff. In fact, they are very tolerant
with foreigners' mistakes and missteps, and always treat visitors
with respect. Islam is the dominant religion in
the country and the constitution advocates freedom of religion and
those of other faiths are given deference.
Foreigners should not apply pressure when wanting to get something
done as the locals consider it counterproductive. When it comes
to getting feedback from Indonesian employees, Westerners in particular
must listen with a more sensitive ear. Indonesians,
as like many Asians, are not direct in expressing themselves, especially
if they are criticizing or saying something negative. Indonesians
in general are fun loving, extroverted people that
always prefer to work or almost anything for that matter in groups.
Islam has a strong influence in the Betawi culture,
which is displayed by art forms, such as the Gambus and Rebana Orchestras
and by the Zapin or Japin Dance.
Movements of Betawi Tari Topeng (the famous mask
dance) and the style in which they play the gamelan orchestra points
to the Jakartanese influence. This influence is also present in
the gamelan performances at Wayang Kulit Betawi shows.
Keroncong Tugu, with popular songs like Kaparinyo, Nina Bobo and
Keroncong Moritsko, is part of the cultural heritage
left behind by the Portuguese and is believed to
be the origin of present-day Keroncong music.