Skip to content

On Ethnicity Stereotypes

Along with my adventure as part Sundanese part Javanese marrying half Bangkanese living in big city, I always found one or two things funny worth sharing with. Like today when my mom who is also part Javanese-Sundanese, try to tell my brother to turn off the water-pump because our well is running out of the water. What she said was:

“Tof, matiin motornya soalnya sumurnya kering, ngga ada air.”
“Hah? Motor?”
…and that goes for almost three times, as mom proceeds with
“Iya matiin dulu gih, nanti ngebul motornya.”
“Ngebul gimana? Motor apa?”
“Iya bisi ngebul kan pasti nyala itu motor kamu.”

Fortunately, he finally understands what she’s trying to say after some random woman yelled at the background, “Pompa air maksutnyaah!” :p

The Same scenario would later involve one island and a spice, in a crossover between Javanese and Sundanese:

“Mbakyu, aku ndak suka Lombok. Loteknya aja nganggo yo.” To the woman at traditional Lotek stall.
“Oh ya? Kenapa kitu ngga suka?” While throwing three chilis into the Lotek.
“Yo ra demen saja, mangannya jadi ora endes.”
“Kenapa tho?”
“Hubungannya Lombok sama makan?”
Brief silence in the air…until few minutes later,
“Lombok itulho, Mbakyu, opo iku? Lombok rawit iku…” Pointing out the chili stack.
“Lha? Cengek? Oalaaah! Kukira pulau Lombok!”
“Lhooo, kepriben. Wes tapi belom kan, Yu?”

To the lots of you living in a mono ethnic country, those scenarios would sound absurd. But in Indonesia where it said hundreds of culture set roots upon its soil, this is commonplace. We are trained to live in cultural diversities, grown accustomed to a different point of view although some people tend to generalized ethnic by their treats. Such as spoiled for Sundanese, frugal for Javanese, strong-head for Bataknese and so on.  When I am about to marry, my future mom-in-law said, once in maybe her pre-wedding anxiety stance, it is bad luck for Sudanese man (my hub is half-Sundanese) to marry javanese girl (I am three-quarter Javanese) because they will most likely living a hard life (at least financially). While Javanese man marrying Sundanese girl will end up the opposite. That is common believe. Bubat war theory aside, what I learn from relatives and also myself is this:

No matter how hard you try to deny, it is widely accepted fact that Sundanese is less of a hardworker than Javanese. It is also widely accepted that Javanese is less stylish than Sundanese. That’s said, when a Sundanese man paired with Javanese woman, he will most likely count on his wife to do the hard work. He will be more stylish than his wife (at least hub is :p), and likely love spending money on leisure than she does. See where this is going? The man doesn’t like saving, love shopping for hobbies or anything actually, and doesn’t like working hard. That is why, in my opinion, their life will not be progressing much forward since they make less money than what they spend. The other way around, when Javanese man marries a Sundanese woman, the man will be determine enough to provide for his family. No matter how much the woman love to spend, he will most likely have his own saving for emergency. So it will be lot easier for them ahead. I am not saying every Javanese-Sundanese pair ended up like this, of course, my theory doesn’t simply apply to everyone. All I am trying to say is, no matter where this kind of believe came from, it exist and only prove that in multi-ethnic society as we are, differences will always be around. However, we managed to embrace those differences in a way that it no longer matters.  Because like me and hub,  we choose to walk the aisle anyway, not even his mom had a say on that. 

Although, funny is, no matter how tolerance we are through ethnicity differences, same rule just won’t apply to religious differences. Even though majority of Indonesians is moslem, not every Indonesian moslem approved of their fellow moslem’s believe. Too many times we heard people clash over this, and I am not about to say which. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *