A Weird Indonesian

You must have known how many times I complain about Indonesia or Indonesian. And I thought I couldn’t find any other thing worth to talk about as I feel I’ve covered all.

Until a couple of weeks a go.

This particular Indonesian lady, who was gracefully featured in my old post “I Love Indonesia, But…” now will be the subject again for the second time. She must have done something remarkable she’s worth to write about!

This is what I wrote about her in May 2008:

… to some, time is a strange concept. And boy how I forget about it – time is not something to be honoured in Indonesia. Prepare to face the worst, those who don’t appreciate yours, and those who are familiar with rubber time (jam karet). We don’t know each other except through another person – she lives in Indonesia but is married to a Scotsman, and I live here. But I gave her my mobile number anyway, with a PS: if you happen to be in Aberdeen, do not hesitate to contact me. She remembers and texted me the other day, announcing her arrival and her hope that she’d meet me. After a few cancellation, we settled on this particular day. I suggested lunch. She said she’d make it at 11. I said I could make it at 12. At 12.15 she phoned me, saying that they (yeah, she and her beau, apparently), just left home and will be there in 45 minutes, circa. I arrived 12.45, waited and waited. Bought some juice to calm my screaming tummy. 1.30 I got a text from a different number, she apparently left her mobile at home and now was using her beau’s. They had arrived. I chucked my juice away and went back to the cafe (2.00 PM, 2 hours late!), only to find out that she had had lunch. And I though we promised to have lunch? Looked at the watch and it’s already 2.05PM – another appointment – so apologized and buggered off. Wondering whether I have been away from Indonesia too long or this particular girl doesn’t have manner…. I couldn’t even be mad because I was too hungry! She sent text today asking if I’m free on Friday. When I said yes she texted back, and contrary to what I expected that she’d arrange something, she said she’ll let me know later. 2 Hours later I confirmed a a lunch with a group of friends. That’s how it works, baby. Don’t expect people to wait for you with open schedules.

Yes, people with no concept of time is common in Indonesia. But I still believe that since this lady works for a multinational company and is married to a Westerner, she somehow owns a watch and occasionally looks at the clock. She certainly has a calendar and knows about time table, or how to make one. And maybe that is why I have higher hopes on her rather than normally I do on other Indonesians. I guess I am wrong. She lives in her own world with her own time.

Surprisingly, the same lady suddenly pinged me on Facebook two weeks a go after a year has gone quietly without either of us bothered to keep in touch except being Facebook friends. She’s here, in Aberdeen! Let’s catch up? Sometimes next week?

I wasn’t too keen, as I had gazillion things to do to prepare the house for visitors the week after that. I politely told her that I will be very busy from Friday until the week after, but I still have time from Monday to Thursday if it’s just lunch or coffee. She excitedly grabbed the first day I am available, (last) Monday. I told her I would be in Starbucks Union Street, interviewed by a Glasgow University PhD student from 2 PM, but come along before that.

My interview was done at 4 PM and my parking metre was running out but there was no sign of her at all. So I went home. And found out that rather than phoning or texting me, she messaged me instead in Facebook, apologised for not turning up. Something to do with the kids or whatever. How about…. Wednesday instead? I replied in bewilderment that, well ok, I could do Wednesday instead.

Of course she didn’t turn up on Wednesday. And this time she vanished into thin air. No apology. No text. No wall message on facebook. It’s like she’s never promised to catch up. I sent a short message to her, asking why she didn’t turn up, or at least confirmed whether we would or would not see each other, but I didn’t get a reply.

Am I upset? Nah. She is not important for me so I am not really bothered. If she was my good friend I would have screamed at her for treating me and my time with little respect. Sadly, with this lady, I have expected this to happen. It’s not the first time. I have learned my lesson. I kept on going with my schedule on the day, and never wondered whether she would or would not confirm the appointment or actually turn up as promised.

I am more intrigued to find out what has gone through her brain when she did make the appointments and promises. Does she do it all the time? Does she suffer from temporary memory loss so she didn’t remember who she talked to or what sort of appointment she committed to ten minutes a go? Does she do this in office, with her husband, in-law? Or is she too scared to drive for 40 minutes to Aberdeen and only relies on the pity of in-laws to drive her around, and bus is out of the question as she couldn’t work out how to ride one? Does she deliberately make double dates so if her husband doesn’t have an agenda today she still can have fun but if they are going somewhere today, bye-bye to me?

I have deleted her from Facebook, though….

The thing is, I have invited her over for BBQ this Saturday. If she does turn up, I would be very very surprised!


  1. Nit, maybe she has consumed too many expired foods that’s why she becomes forgetful :)
    .-= Elyani´s last blog ..Rogers Creek Park =-.

  2. Elyani: LOL maybe. Or too much whisky!

  3. wow… does she not know your cell ph number? didn’t bother to call at all? seriously, what was she thinking… i’m really intrigued on what was going on in her little head -any remorse at all?
    .-= Diny´s last blog ..Demanding People are Insecure? =-.

  4. Mila Couch says:

    I have some close friends who behaves like that in Jakarta, mostly their excuse is the traffic or it’s weekend no need to get rush. Until one day we’re supposed to meet in one of the shopping centre located in Senayan and I had to wait for them for an hour! They did sent me text and called me saying they’re going to be late but they also have known better that I like being on time and most importantly they were the one who set up the time!

    So I sent a message to each of them saying I have another appointment with my family and also if you are truly my friends please respect me and my time. Since then whenever I came back to Jakarta and meet up with them they managed to come on time – even thou some of them still being late for half an hour.

  5. Diny: yes, she asked for my mobile number as she manages to lose it all the time. So I don’t know what was going through her head when she tried to make an appointment with me but didn’t turn up or didn’t bother to confirm or cancel.

    Mila: yes people in Jakarta can be absolutely annoying. Early this year on our return to Jakarta, we had dinner appointment at 7.30. We were late because traffic on Friday night was crazy, so we arrived before 8PM. But the other couple arrived at…. 10PM! But this appointment on my above thread was in Aberdeen. No traffic whatsoever. And I guess if you stay in a different country you’re supposed to follow the custom, and respecting their own appointment is at least one of them, right?

  6. I think her parents simply left out “good manners” from the things that they were suppose to teach to their beloved daughter!
    .-= Therry´s last blog ..Reality Bites =-.

  7. I’m surprised that you keep making appointments and appointments with her, you are too nice! Because if I were you, the first time she dissed the lunch with you and gave no reason, I would have just decided that I will not spare my time with her. Because:

    1) My time is important
    2) She has no manners
    3) She does not respect other people’s time for her
    4) She is obviously not taking you seriously

    I happen to find lots of people like this in Indonesia. To me, if you don’t show up, I will give 15 minutes until they call you telling that they will be late. If not, sorry, I’m gone.
    .-= parvita´s last blog ..Blogging: need the time to listen to my mind =-.

  8. Umm…
    Btw Anita, did she show up?

  9. i wont call her friend anymore who’s not respecting u and ur time …

  10. Therry: either that or she suffers from short term memory disease :)
    Parvita: I guess I have tried to give her more chance as I can’t just dismiss a person because she did it once. But it’s three times now so I have had enough.
    Woleank: Nope :)
    Fs: well quite right!

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