Things Indonesians Should Learn From Chinese Indonesian

Sacha Stevenson, a Canadian with Indonesian’s heart, a youtuber, and a person who I suspect like to people watch recently posted a video on youtube titled: How to Act Like (Chinese) Indonesian. I will not elaborate on the video, you can watch it yourself at the end of this post. After watching the video, I realized that Chinese-Indonesia is my favorite person in the world for business and to buy from. Unlike many other Indonesians, if I could buy from Chinese, I will always buy from Chinese. Here is why:

1) Quality and Consistency

It is no longer a secret that a shop owned by Indonesian will soon rise their price when their customers increase. If they do not rise the price, they will immediately lower their quality. Indonesian shop owner will always change something to disappoint  you and they never fail to do so. This thing will not happen if you shop in a Chinese-Indonesian owned shop. If they lower the quality, or even if it is change for a bit you can always complain (and as you might be aware, complaint is one of my hobbies). Chinese Indonesians do take complain from their customers seriously. For Chinese, business is their livelihood and quality should always be maintained and they will never mess this up. That is why they will always try to provide the best quality for its customers. Wanna proof? Go to Mandala restaurant in Jalan Santa, a restaurant that never reduce its quality. The price is a bit pricey, but the taste and the quality, never change.

2) Relationship matters

The first thing that I buy after I got my first paycheck was insurance. I made a specific request to few insurance companies: I only want to buy from Chinese-Indonesian agent. Sound racist? Nope for me because I only want to put important thing to who take me seriously.

When you buy insurance, the agent will only get benefit from you on the first three years. After three years, a crazy agent will just leave you behind. This will not happen if you buy from Chinese-Indonesian agent, because they will see potential in you. Chinese-Indonesian maintain relationship with their customer, because they know that someday you will buy again for them or you will recommend them to someone else. Therefore, they will always maintain the relationship and will  ALWAYS try to help you. I think I bought my first insurance around 2006 or 2007. My agent has always been helpful, even recently when I got hospitalized from dengue. I keep buying travel insurance from her and yes, I recommend her to anyone who need insurance because Chinese-Indonesian does it better. Do let me know if you need an insurance, I’ll pas her number.

3) Helpful

If you couldn’t find specific product that you need, an Indonesian shop owner will send you back home or to other shop or simply saying: We do not have it (go somewhere else).  Chinese Indonesians will never do that to you. He or she will request you to wait, making calls and do the best to find the product you need at good price. This is the service that you couldn’t find in any shop other that Chinese shop and this is why I keep coming and buying from Chinese Indonesian. They got a small profit and I do not need to walk around to find the product, both parties happy.

4) Every cent matters

When it comes to money, I am very meticulous. If you go out on a dinner or lunch with me, I would never let my you pay more from what you eat and will ensure that you will not pay less. It has to be the exact amount, because for me every cent matters. This is one of Chinese’s rules as well. You may call it “perhitungan”, or call it miser, but for me, it is to show appreciation to my and someone’s else money. Everyone works hard to get their money, so let’s not waste it. That’s why Chinese Indonesians do not mind to get a lower profit as long as the customers keep coming back. Sustainability is important for them, while many Indonesians will always try to rob you and do not care if you will come back or not. For them, big profit is more important than sustainability.

When it comes to wedding present, Chinese person will put number in your envelope. For many Indonesians it is very weird. For me, it is better that way. So I know how much someone give me and when it times to payback, you can always pay the proper amount. Plus, you will always know if someone being not nice and putting 1000 rupiah in the envelope. Really, 1000 rupiah as wedding present, are you kidding me?

5) Customer is King

For Chinese, customers keep their business running, so they will treat them like a king. As a customer, I always want to be treated like a customer or a event better, a king. The only thing that I do not want any shop owner to do to me, is to treat me like I am an ATM. Do you notice that in Chinese Shop, the owner, will always say thank you to you after you purchase something (even after you bargain like an Indian). My recent purchase took me to Kaliem, a jewel shop in Blok M area. I bought a jewel there and I was assisted by the assistant. Upon receiving the payment, the owner who were hidden in his cubicle, stood up, looked into my eyes, smiled and say “thank you”. It is very simple thing do, but it show that he cares and he respect me as a customer and it made me feel like I am a King  queen. Unfortunately, you will rarely never receive the same treatment from Indonesian shop owner and for this simple gesture, I will go back to Kaliem to buy another jewel.

6) Chinese and lucky charm

Anyway, Sacha mentioned how Chinese likes cat. Yes, Chinese loves the cat because the cat brings good luck and attract customer. I myself will always opt a shop with maneki-neko because the cat is a guarantee that the owner is Chinese and that the service will be good. But do you know that this cat is not Chinese at all? Maneki-neko is a Japanese cat!


Anyway, my great grandmother is Chinese, her family name is Han. So technically I have a splash of Chinese on my blood, but I do not look like Chinese at all. Interestingly, an Chinese-Indonesian lady in Hong Kong recently thought that I am a Chinese. She even guessed that I am from Singkawang. Do I look like Chinese?

Sacha Stevenson Video can be seen here:

Ailsa Han



4 thoughts on “Things Indonesians Should Learn From Chinese Indonesian

  1. I have some Chinese blood (not too much) but I can totally see what you mean! In my family we are also exact to the last centavo and we call it “kwentas claras.” Some cultures find this cheap, but I don’t mind. Being “cheap” is something Chinese Filipinos like me take pride in. The youtuber you featured is pretty creative haha!

  2. being a chinese indonesian n a merchant daughther i totally respect n grateful for ur point a view….coz many local merchants had accused my parent “cheating” because my parent, like u said, will lower d price ( also throw in some bonuses) , even serve aqua n snack for the customers when they take forever to bargain, even when in the end they walked out w/o buying a single thing, my parent still smile n say thank u to them….i remembered someone asked my mom why she did that, after a man spent 5 hours bargaining to get 15000 idr lower from d quoted price, n still walk put not buying anyhting…. my mom said: he is still a customer, beside i am just as happy to serve him, as to serve paying customers. in my eyes everbody who walk in the shop is my customer, buying or not! 🙂 anddddd to many local merchants thats cheating 😛

    • The one thing that Indonesian has yet learn from Indonesian with Chinese decent, is their ability to serve well, to really make the customer feel like King. Indonesian also need to learn not to mess with their livelihood, once they mess up, customer will walk away.

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