Trade relations and cultural exchanges between Indonesia and Indonesia Australia occurred since the 18th century. The two countries are also close neighbors, but apparently there are still Australian misunderstandings about Indonesia.
This misunderstanding is often encountered by Indonesians living in Australia. Starting from the question of an Islamic state, the Indonesian language, to the predicate of a poor country.
The following is the confession of Indonesians as summarized by ABC:
1. Suspected Islamic State
Rangga Daranindra, who came to Darwin 11 years ago as a student, says the misconceptions Australians have about Indonesia are usually not fueled by hatred.
“They don’t know us very well at all,” he told A B C.
A number of children are in the area of the Baiturrahman Grand Mosque, Banda Aceh, Aceh. Baiturrahman Grand Mosque is an icon of Aceh Province which is included in one of the oldest and grandest mosques in Asia which was built in the 16th century during the Sultan Iskandar Muda Kingdom which became a religious tourism object for domestic and foreign tourists. (BETWEEN PHOTOS/Syifa Yulinnas).
He said Australians often think that Indonesia is an Islamic country.
“Usually people compare Indonesia to countries like Iran or Saudi Arabia,” he said, while also thinking that Indonesia was ruled by a dictator.
“Yes, it is true that the majority of Indonesians are Muslim, like me. [Tapi] Indonesia is not constitutionally a Muslim country. Indonesia is a secular country by law, we recognize six official religions,” he said.
Aceh is the only province that adheres to Sharia law or laws based on Islamic rules. Even there, there are those who argue that Aceh does not apply the true teachings of Islam and instead contradicts its practice.
Rangga, who is from Yogyakarta, advised Australians to make more friends with Indonesians.
“Usually they [orang Australia] do not have enough Indonesian friends to exchange ideas or opinions. They only get stories from the news or from the media,” he said.
He is worried that Australia could be left behind when Indonesia becomes one of the economic powers in the Asian region.
“There are many opportunities that Australia can take from Indonesia, such as its human resources,” he said.
2. Indonesian is less attractive
Diza Alia, who has lived in Australia for more than twenty years, said she was always proud whenever an Australian spoke to her in Indonesian.
One day, someone greeted him in Indonesian after he called his friend in Indonesia.
“After I hung up, he said ‘How are you?’ and I was a bit surprised because he didn’t seem to be Indonesian,” said Alia.
An online petition asking for support so that Indonesian language lessons are maintained at Narrabudah College schools in the Australian Capital Region (ACT). This school is equivalent to high school (SMA) in Indonesia.
“I feel happy and proud because he can speak a little Indonesian.”
Diza, who is also director of public relations for the Australian Indonesian Students Association, said Indonesian language teaching in local schools in Australia had declined due to a lack of interest and funding.
“Indonesians living in Australia generally don’t promote Indonesian to Australians,” he said.
3. Considered a poor and underdeveloped country
Kathy Kimpton, who moved to Australia in 1998, said some people she met thought Indonesia was a poor, uneducated and backward country and this made her uncomfortable.
“I really hope to change this negative perception. I hope that all Indonesians living in Australia can change it by becoming Indonesian ambassadors. Indonesia is not a poor country, nor is its citizens uneducated,” he said.
4. Thinking Bali is Separate from Indonesia
Although millions of Australians vacation in Bali every year, a recent survey shows that many still have no knowledge of Indonesia.
Kathy, who works in a private school, said many Indonesians may appear shy or smile easily at first glance.
But this shows that most Indonesians are humble and polite, not because they don’t understand anything.
Lingga Lana Gunawan, an elementary school teacher, said many of her students often ask if she used to live in the forest or in the trees.
“I know this may be an innocent question from a child, but I also wonder, where do these children get this kind of information about Indonesia?” said Linga.
He said this kind of misunderstanding showed there was not enough news about Indonesia in the Australian media.
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