August 16, 2008

Indonesians & Chit-chat

I had just read Bram's post on an article titled "Small Talk ala Indonesia" and although I don't agree 100% with it (I don't think that sex is a topic that Indonesians talk freely about; being married (or in my case, not yet married), having kids are on the other hand common topics), I must admit that it does give a quite representative picture of small talks that we must tolerate here in Indonesia. Just hours later, I found myself in a similar bothersome situation as mentioned in the article.

Setting : 2 o' clock in the afternoon. I'm feeling sick, so I ask my boss for permission to leave work early. I go to the taxi stand at the back of my office building.


Driver : Good afternoon
Me : Good afternoon. To ...... (I say the name of my street)
Driver : What kind of office is there?
Me : (A bit surprised that he asks this question, but then again, it is still working hours, so I quickly think nothing of it) No office. It's my house. I don't feel well.
Driver : Why don't you feel well? Maybe you work too hard.
Me : Maybe.
Driver : Yeah...probably you often don't eat on time.
Me : (Getting annoyed) Don't know.
Driver : Do you usually work late? Maybe you have caught "masuk angin"?
Me : (Terribly annoyed) Hmm.
Driver : This street...is it near the Bajaj workshop?
Me : Yes
Driver : I have a friend over there. I was meaning to stop by.
Me (Replying) : Oh.
Me (Thinking) : I'm only answering with 1 syllable words. Can't you take a hint, I don't feel like talking?!

We are now approaching Sudirman street. The driver turns and takes the slow lane, while actually it would be better if he had taken the fast lane.

Driver : Yesterday I was taking a passenger, a girl, to that area. Had a nice long talk but I was kind of suspicious about her.
Me : (in an attempt to stop him from talking) So what, it's her life. Don't think much about it. Anyways, why did you take the slow lane? Is there traffic jam on the fast lane at this hour? It doesn't seem so. It would've been better to take the fast lane, or not?

Driver gruntly replies something and then doesn't talk the whole trip home. Mission accomplished.

Sorry Mr. Taxi Driver, that I had to bite your head off, but hey...I already told you that I didn't feel well. Did you expect me to endure having small talk with you?!

2 comments:

Antonius Bram said...

well, it wasn't written by me but by julia suryakusuma. I also disagree about the sex things because IT IS A TABOO topic in Indonesia. may be she doesn't really know what actualy happened in Indonesia itself

Fitri said...

But if she writes for the Jakarta Post, she must be quite credible. Anyways, small talk about one's current relationship status is sooo common (especially when you are in you're mid-twenties & still not married), that one of the cig ads here made this its central theme : Kapan mau kawin? May....Maybe yes, mybe no...haha..I love that ad!

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