I am an Indonesian and ever since I was young my family has strictly embraced and followed the indigenous culture and stressed on the importance of following it. We believe that the way we act, dress and speak in public can both show and help us build and develop our personality. However, ever since I moved to the United States of America I have noticed a lot of difference in my culture and what I found here. The differences come in in terms of cultures between these two countries.
Respect among Indonesians is a key issue in everything one does, for instance how one dresses, especially women and girls so as not to cause negative actions from the opposite sex, and also, how one addresses his or her seniors – we address them by using Sir, Mr., Mrs., and so forth before their names, which is not the case here in America. Also the family unit is very important in shaping personalities.
One major aspect of personal identity that greatly influences my culture is respect. Children are strictly taught to uphold manners and conduct themselves well both in private and public. Respect in the Indonesian culture is a veryfundamental point of shaping a person to the point one becomes an adult from childhood.
Children are from an early age taught the importance of respect within a family setting. This helps them to carry on with it even when they move out of their parent’s home and become independent and in some cases move to other countries or regions and encounter other people of different cultures.
My culture is greatly influenced by an age’s long interrelation between, our existing first, from the beginning indigenous customs and various external influences which tend to have a profound or crucial influence over the way our personalities shape up. Latterell (56) notes, “The position of Indonesia along a prehistoric trading route belonging to the distant past, before the collapse of the Western Roman Empire in 476 AD, connecting the Middle East to the Far East is a key factor in external influences.”
As a result there was interaction cutting across a multitude of human activities and customs such as religion (Hinduism, Islam, Buddhism and Confucianism); trade; family life and much more.
Despite this mix of cultures, albeit complex in nature and different from the original culture it still has a richculture that has strong moral ground which help shape ones personality.The vibrancy and versatility of my culture can be compared to Indonesia’s natural beauty.
The basis of Indonesian culture and its ability to comply with a fixed standard, regulation, or requirement of societal norms is the importance put on honor and respect for the individual. This is also a very key element in Buddhism and Hinduism, which greatly influenced the Indonesian culture. The teachings of Buddhism greatly stress on respect for all living things and one’s own parents.
These teachings brought forward by the Buddha (Siddhartha Gautama) leads one to try and find the actual state of the world by making use of wisdom, and therefore be able to distinguish between right and wrong and upholding each and every life, for example when faced with a situation of whether killing a mosquito or letting people suffer from malaria. Furthermore Hinduism stresses on respect of elders (parents, older brother or any one senior than you).
This is a keystone of the Hindu culture and my culture seems to have borrowed most from it. My culture takes this further by stressing on the importance of loyalty towards one’s own family on top of everything else and viewing each other as members of one big extended family, this is due to the fact that they live simple lives a basic amenity enjoyed by Indonesians.
My personality, the way I carry myself and interact with my elders and how I refer to them can be hugely attributed to my upbringing, where at the family setup, respect for elders is a very fundamental aspect of growing up.
This is evident as I moved to the United States, I still practice the teachings impacted in me. Back at home it is always impolite to refer to anyone older than you by just their first name.
Consequently, it is morally upright for me to continue in the way we are brought up and this has continued to shape my personality. Furthermore, despite the differences and complexities between various cultures around the world, my culture teaches us to honor, respect and uphold one another’s culture and personalities
In Islam, the main keystone is respect for all humanity regardless of the difference in the normal human ways of life in aspects such as wealth, race, tribe, nationality, color, abilities and so on. Indonesia being predominantly an Islamic nation greatly focuses on respect as a key cultural component.
The Indonesian culture borrows heavily from various other external factors but a conclusion can be made that it has focused more on incorporating the religions of these cultures (Buddhism, Hinduism and Confucianism) and fusing them with its own indigenous culture to come out with a strong morally upright way of life and acceptable societal norms.
Respect is by all means the foundation of everything else. However, the variation in personalities in respect to various cultures is universal and all comes down to the specifics contained within a specific culture.
Latterell, Catherine. ReMix: Reading and Composing Culture. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2009. Print.