Thing Indonesians Like – Gadgets

Indonesians love to talk, with anyone including stranger, about everything including their personal life. I once met a girl in the airport in Vietnam who shared her life story, including her price for short time. Yes, she talked too much. Well, most people don’t read, so the best way to kill the time is by talking.

In our language, the act of talking, discussing and gossiping are translated into one word: ngerumpi. We love it so much and back then, Yahoo Messenger was our very close friend. Until, blackberry (BB) arrived in Indonesia. BB instantly becomes a popular gadget as the supposed-to-be smartphone, not only provide us with a mean of communication calls blackberry messenger, it also  let us to install the Yahoo Messenger. The blackberry messenger becomes our new hero as it fulfill our needs for ngerumpi. 

phone

The arrival of the not-so smart blackberry changes not-so-smart people’s habit too. People’s eyes are constantly glued to the tiny monitor and they could not leave the blackberry in peace at their hand bag or their pocket. For a brief moment it becomes a symbol of economical status as only those with money could afford it. Mind you, back in early 2009, the price of blackberry curve 8310 was around USD 600, while the income per capita was only USD 2,590.

Out of the blue,  Indonesians act like a CEO of a very big company who’s about to loose a good deal with a big client and thus could not miss any important message. But here, we are not afraid to loose a good deal, what we fear is to be left alone and not updated with the latest gossip and other not-important-at-all news.

The other change is that today, sharing phone number is no longer enough. It becomes important to share KakaoTalk, Whatsapp, Line and blackberry PIN number. To fit the new era, people are racing to buy a new blackberry (or now android). They are all running towards a new world, where ignoring others in real life is common. Communication works better through messenger and people are no longer worry about their inability to see other’s emotion, thanks to the cute emoticons.

This new way of communication bothers me (and I am sure others) a lot. I found it very rude to be on the same table, sharing food, but busy with their own mobile phone. Today, all we care about is how other comments on the pictures of food we recently upload in the social media, rather than the human connection. Can you believe that even my dermatologist cares more about her gadget rather than the patient. She was once excuse herself for few minutes to care for her virtual pet. Poor soul. However, most of Indonesians find it not very rude to answer the phone on the dining table. If you are caught up in such situation, don’t bother to excuse yourself, just sit calmly and response the phone loudly. People will not complain as they understand the importance of the call.

When meeting close friends, I usually ask them to stack the phones on the middle of the table. The first person to touch the mobile phone should pay the bill.  I usually ended up paying the bill because no one wants to touch the phone even until the bill comes, but at least we had a real conversation. There are of course the moment when friends and I are hanging in the coffee shop for the sake of sitting, free wi-fi, OK coffee while our thumb busy with the tiny monitor.

Credit cards, whom Indonesian love dearly and could not live without, are the life safer for those who could not afford the gadget. A normal Indonesian usually has more than one credit card and credit card companies are competing each other, offering the best deal. This deal including installment for smart phone, ipad or laptop. The real Indonesian will go for 0% installment, from 3 months to 12 months. The first credit card is usually allocated for the blackberry installment while the other credit card for Ipad or Galaxy Tab installment. Life is easy, until the bill comes. Anyway,  a normal Indonesians usually have two phones (just combine blackberry, iphone and android), an ipad/ a galaxy tab, and a power bank.

The monthly bill for the phone is not a problem. Provider like Telkomsel, XL, Three and Indosat are offering affordable internet package for blackberry, smartphone or ipad. Users could freely select the package that suit their budget. XL even offer IDR 500/ day for 2 MB. If one really want to save the money (to pay the installment), then visiting the nearest Starbucks or Seven Eleven for free wifi is a must.

Finally, I notice that many parents in Indonesia love to share their gadget with their kids. The parents could have a peaceful lunch or dinner and at the same time, the kids could have fun. The other guests in the restaurant are also benefiting from the the scream-free environment. I do not judge them for that, after all, they are all their kids, not mine.

Do you often check your social media and ignoring your friends who are sitting close to you?