The language debate

It has been in the news recently that in order to get a working permit in Indonesia, you now need to take a language proficiency test. Everyone is up in arms abut how unfair this is, how Indonesia should make it easy for expats to live here. Wow, how arrogant can people get!! If you want to work in Germany, you have to take a language test, and probably most other countries. It makes sense, that in order to work in a country you need to have at least a basic understanding of the language. How else are you going to communicate?

I had a shocking conversation the other day with an expat that has been living here for 8 years. He proudly announced that he could not even count to 10 in Indonesian!! He then went on to pronounce that he has no desire or will to learn the language as he finds he has nothing in common with the local people. This is being said in front of his Indonesian wife by the way!

I love language, I find it fascinating, and by learning a language you get a much better insight in to how the people think. Bali is a beautiful island, and people come to live here, for the low cost of living and pleasant climate. Many do not contribute other than to buy products here and spend money in 5 star resorts, oh and provide work for domestic workers. But as a result they only get to scratch the surface of life here. Maybe that’s all they want, but its not enough for me. I want to understand as much as i can. My husband is Balinese, my children are Balinese, so I owe it to them to make the effort.

This new rule is not actually targeted at expats, but rather in response to the opening up of the free trade and free movement of workers in the ASEAN Economic community, making it easier for Asians to move between countries and find work. There are already 68,762 foreigners working in Indonesia, and most of those are from China, Japan, Korea,India and Malaysia.

So people need to get off their high horses, and be a little bit more respectful to the country where they have chosen to live. Learn the language! Its such an easy and fun language to speak, and you never know, you might just start to like the local people and find that you have much more in common than you thought!

4 thoughts on “The language debate

  1. I agree with you!
    (Kak Mary, saya minta ijin ya, mungkin suatu waktu saya hendak memblog ulang artikel-artikel kak Mary tentang Bali. Saya juga memuat kategori “Stories of Indonesian.”) Trims Kak! 🙂 Saya kok canggung ya pake bahasa Indonesia di sini. he.he


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