Indonesia Travel Stories
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Story submitted by Steve from England 25th June 2009
No matter where you go in Indonesia, you are sure to hear this one phrase, usually said with great enthusiasm Ė Hello Misterrrrrrr.
What is the deal with it? Is this the only English that is taught in Indonesian schools? Sometimes it is accompanied with a few other phrases like Hello mister? How are you? Where are you going? Where do you come from? What is your name?
It all seems very friendly though what I really donít get is the reaction you get when you respond back to them. I try my best to be polite and respond to them. They are obviously a little excited to see a foreigner visit their home town and trying their best to welcome you with the few English words they know. Most of the times when I get the Hello Misterrrr, I try to respond with just a Hello or a Hello misterrrr back but generally all I get back from them is giggling.
What is the deal here? Do they giggle because they are too excited that you have responded? Are they astonished that a foreigner can actually talk? Do they make bets with each other to see if they can get a response?
I can just imagine this situation. 2 Indonesian guys are sitting on the side of the street, as is commonly seen all over Indonesia. In the distance they see a foreigner walking down their street. You know they have spotted you as they are indiscreetly pointing and talking about you as you approach. As you get closer they stop their talking and are just staring at you. As you are right up along side them you get the Hello misterrrrrrr. You look at them and say hello. They both just burst into laughter. As you walk away I can imagine them saying to each other. There you go. You owe me 5000Rp for that hello!
Iíve traveled a lot in Indonesia. I keep going back as I really love the variety of the landscape and the people are really friendly. I speak a bit of Indonesia which goes along way with getting to know them. When I first arrive for a trip Iím pleasantly warmed by the welcome I get when I go for my first walk down the street. You get the Hello misterrr not long after leaving your hotel. A few meters later you get another one and you say hello back. This continues not just on your first walk along the road, but for the rest of your whole trip. I do try to respond when someone says this to me but Iíve spent several months at a time in Indonesia and this does wear on you. I feel rude not responding and just ignoring them. But there are 220,000,000 people in Indonesia. You canít possibly respond to everyone.
Well this being said Iím still looking forward to going back to Indonesia soon and hearing my first Hello misterrrrrr.
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Contributed 25th June 2009
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