Indonesia, it’s women, life and family traditions
Luxury beaches, an abundance of flowers and fruits, smiling residents in bright outfits are just a small part of Indonesia. You can open this country from the other side and it is not like a tropical paradise on the edge of the universe. Usually tourists come to have rest in Bali, but we will have completely different look at the real life of Indonesian families in the way it is.
Small, but important introduction. 95% of Indonesians are Muslims and this is very noticeable in women’s clothing. Women cover the whole body to the toes. Particularly reliable, women and girls hide their hair from prying eyes under dense handkerchiefs. Although Indonesia is a secular country where officially the religion should not interfere in the affairs of the state, its influence is very strong and the farther from major cities, the stronger it is. Not surprisingly, the wealthiest people in this poor country are religious leaders. By the way, one of the signs of a man’s wealth is the number of wives he is able to support. The poor man can afford only one wife and a wealthy person has up to four wives as Islam permits. The law of polygamy is not permitted either is not prohibited in Indonesia. In practice, even metropolitan girl with higher education in Indonesia often becomes the third, fourth wife of wealthy cult worker and it is completely voluntary.
Early marriages, polygamy and children
Are you interested in whether there is jealousy between wives in polygamic Indonesian family? No doubts, you will have the harsh times if you are the fourth wife. Of course, there is jealousy and it is very intensive sometimes. Wives are not friendly with each other, they try to observe decency only in public and out of public eye relations are often bad. Want to learn another sign of wealth in the Indonesian family? Only a wealthy woman can afford artificial feeding for a child. If mother does not feed the baby with her own milk, it means her family has enough money for buying the mixture. Artificial feeding is considered very prestigious in Indonesia because it is expensive.
Idly sitting men is a scene you could often see in Indonesian villages. There is little work or there is practically none work and because of that families live very poorly. Nevertheless, women should work in the field, take care of the cattle and keep the farm by tradition. Well, all that remains to men is smoking and watching the life. It seems that everyone is happy with this state of affairs. Well, it’s not for us to judge.
Traditional Indonesian wedding and family life
In the house where people are waiting for replenishment in the family you are welcomed guest, especially if you bring some help or useful gifts. 26 by local measures is quite old for the first time to give birth. On the occasion of the traditional village Indonesian wedding the bride must change 7 outfits. Among them are both – national and secular. 200 guests at the wedding is considered a very modest wedding; there are weddings with 400 guests! There are enough treats for everyone, because they do not come to the wedding with empty hands: it is customary for Indonesians to bring some ready-made dish as a wedding gift.
Stickers on the houses of pregnant Indonesian girls
There is a small sticker on the door of the house. This is how Indonesians mark the houses where a woman is about to give birth. The matter is that doctors are far away here and in the villages people hope for the principles of mutual assistance. It used to be like this: if everything is in order in the pregnant woman’s house, they hung a green ribbon. When the situation is alarming it is changed to yellow. When the situation is critical it is changed to red. Now the tapes are gone and they were replaced by stickers on which the midwife writes the term of birth and marks her visits, so everyone in the village is aware of the situation in this particular house.
Indonesian children – smiling and happy
Children and adults of Indonesia have to learn to take care of their own health because in many villages there are no doctors or any state medical care. Actually, the number of children study topics on hygiene, physiology, and the basics of medicine. Directly on the school yard you can see the girls about 13, settling on a rug calmly take blood from each other for analysis. They check its color with the template and approximately determine the level of hemoglobin in color where the less brownish-red and the more yellowish the shade is, the lower this figure is. More recently, the topics of sex and intimate life here were taboo. The authorities try to change this and start with younger generations. And there are results – condoms and oral contraceptives are given out in mobile medical centers; the spouses of religious leaders do IVF and in Islamic schools there are lessons on human physiology. Children without jokes and laughter study a structure of human anatomy and have no embarrassment and other reactions.
It is significant that in Indonesia neither children nor adults ever beg for anything unlike their counterparts in India or Africa. They do not ask for candy, chewing gum or money. These kids just want to shake hands with foreigners. They shook hands, press it to cheek and then touched their heart. They need very little for happiness.
Women of Indonesia and their clothing
Women’s clothing in Indonesia is a separate topic for discussion. In a hot and humid climate they walk calmly in accordance with Islamic demands, in dense suits and shawls made of synthetics. They do not feel the discomfort that so strikes Europeans who have their own habits and seeing of life. All Indonesian women feel quite naturally, wrapped from head to toes. Local residents had time to get used to this way of life as Islam came to Indonesia more than 10 centuries ago and almost superseded the Hindu and Buddhism. Hindus, Chinese, Persians, Dutch, Japanese – whoever else was on these lands? Few remained from the original population of the islands. The island country became an independent state only after the Second World War and then for 50 years fell under the yoke of its own tyrants. The first two presidents so shamelessly plundered the country that they got into the top-ten embezzler presidents of all times. In addition, they also sympathized with Chinese military socialism. Therefore, even now in every private house, apartment or office in a prominent place you can see a portrait of the president and any civil servant from a ministry employee to a teacher is easily recognized by the uniform of a paramilitary style.
Contrasts of Indonesian life
When you look down from the 130-meter tower in the downtown Jakarta you see smooth lawns, neat rows of palm trees and perfectly clean paths. From this height, you can not see the pedicabs on old bicycles, nor the old women trading in the dust on the dirty market, nor the gloomy bay with the gasoline on the water. This bay is a place that is hard to forget and not only because of good things. Here, the contrast between poverty and wealth is seen as in the palm of your hand. Against the background of skyscrapers along dirty water there are numerous plywood sheds. This is the home of those who are trying to survive in Jakarta at any cost. Many of those people are ready to fit five on three square meters, if only it would be cheaper to live. When you see the waters of Java Sea the desire to dip immediately disappears, because the sea in Java is not a resting place, but green, muddy, dirty water with a characteristic smell of rotten fish. It turns out that directly on the dirty stone a local delicacy, a super-expensive fish sauce is prepared and that is why you can smell the rotten fish. The main means of transportation in the streets of big cities and small towns of Indonesia is a motorcycle. You can often see a family of four freely placed with babies and older boys on a regular bike. And if adults wear helmets, then for some reason they forget about children to wear it. The usual picture when a woman is riding a motorcycle, hurrying somewhere and behind her back there is a sleeping baby. It is such the order of things in Indonesia.
Harsh reality in real Indonesian families
How nice is to see laughing sincere children as it is the most ordinary reaction of happy children with their joys. Life of Indonesian children is different, unusual for Europeans or Americans, but they got used to such kind of things. Unfortunately, there are many Indonesian children who can not be called happy. In Indonesia babies can easily be left by their parents who leave to work in neighboring Malaysia just leaving kids alone. Some children do not attend school as parents force them to work and earn money. But the most terrible is the fact that some children aged 5 to 15 years are sold by their own parents to Malaysian sexual slavery. Life of women in Indonesian families is also not sweet. Actually, Indonesian woman who has suffered domestic violence from her husband or father can apply to the Center for Combating Domestic Violence. Here she will be accepted even together with the child and will provided legal, medical and psychological assistance. Previously, the state did not interfere in the affairs of the Indonesian family and the woman completely depended on her husband. But a few years ago appeared a law banning the manifestation of domestic violence. Now the husband, who raised his hand on his wife can theoretically be sued. But in practice, women return to the family without applying. They can be understood as sending a spouse to prison will remain family without a breadwinner.
Healthcare problems in Indonesian families
The main problem is high child mortality from tetanus. This dangerous disease threatens primarily Indonesian women and children. Death from tetanus is painful and affects mainly young mothers and newborns, if the birth was made in a non-sterile environment and without medical assistance. It is the main cause of infant mortality in Indonesia. Spores of tetanus live in the ground and are transmitted through dirty hands or instruments, infecting both – the mother and the baby. According to official statistics, about 70% of children in Indonesia do not survive up to first month of life. The first reason for this spread of the disease is unsanitary conditions. Hot and humid climate contributes to the instant spread of any infection. Lack of medical care in numerous remote villages, poverty of local residents and low level of education where 40% of children are non-literal and five out of ten children under 5 have no documents at all – all this causes unsanitary conditions of life and high risk of early death. And with all of the above, there is a high birth rate in Indonesia. It is normal to have five and more children for average Indonesian family. By the way, there is an explanation for this as Indonesians believe that every child has his own destiny and parents hope that one of the children will succeed and not forget about his/her relatives then. The state is not able to cope with the problem. There is not enough money or staff. Stationary medical centers are only in large settlements. Read also: Typical Indonesian family