The more we travel, the more we learn. We have been analyzing things as we go along and we have been having some revelations. Spreading the "Go Green" message and planting trees is having no effect at all on the villagers. Why? Because the majority are uneducated. But wait? They go to school don't they? Yes, they do... and that's probably the reason why they don't ask me any questions. They don't analyze or inquire, or apply what they have seen to their own lives. I assumed if I set an example and people saw my efforts they would be inspired to improve themselves, but that would require insight and analysis... something not regularly practiced in the Indonesian National School System. Too bad the International Schools are too expensive for the average Joe... and too bad that they are changing the regulations soon so that Indonesian Nationals aren't allowed to register in International schools.... and too bad still that the government is trying to enforce obligatory religion classes even in International schools here now... AND even more disastrous, trying to implement the Indonesian National Curriculum in the International Schools. What on earth is the Indonesian government up to this time?! When I visited New Zealand International School, the kids were excited! They asked a million intelligent questions! They clapped and were inspired! I saw a successful future in their big beautiful eyes! I saw children of all Nationalities and Religions playing together, free from prejudice and racism. I saw acceptance and cultural sensitivity. I saw the international leaders of tomorrow! Then I reached an Indonesian national school. I asked them if they liked Oranges. They couldn't answer me. They were too shy... as if they weren't allowed to speak. It took them several minutes to respond at all and the whole time I was there I could only elicit either a yes or a no response. They didn't ask me even one question. NOT ONE! Okay... I know these kids aren't inherently stupid! So who did this to them? Who taught them that they aren't allowed to ask questions! Who robbed them of their natural inclinations to learn and interact with the world? Iphe and I had a long talk over our evening meal that day.... after being here for 10 years I am only starting now to get the big picture. When I decided to do this trip on inline skates from Merak to Kuta, I knew I would attract attention and I knew I wanted to improve the quality of life in Indonesia. I could chose any cause I wanted. I thought that the cause in most dire need of attention was the environmentally related, that's why I chose "GO GREEN". But in reality this is just a tiny piece of the pie. Once humans are aware and have the knowledge... they can gage each action themselves and can easily see if it is "good" or "bad" for humanity. I thought that the majority of people here already had this gage but they were just lazy, selfish, too poor, or had just plain given up. But I think I was wrong. They are working with an unnatural gage. Being "Good" means obeying your teachers, parents, and religious leaders, even when they are wrong. Being "Good" means praying with arabic words that most people don't understand, living at home with parents until you are married even if you are in your 30's and therefor never learning independence and other important life lessons, hiding your true feelings and keeping quiet when your thoughts differ from the community "standards". If i were Indonesian, I would be a black sheep, an unwanted child, an outcast.... I would be lonely and rejected by my peers and elders. They seem happy to see me in the villages, and I am forgiven for my big mouth, my opinions, and outgoing personality because I am a "Bule".... A foreigner. But I wish I could hear what they say about me behind my back in these villages I pass. I know this though... they would NEVER let their daughters do what I am doing, because being "good" means staying close to home and being a "good" wife and mother. Smells like 50 years ago to me. So we are changing the agenda! We don't just want Indonesia to go green... we want Indonesia to evolve. We want a better curriculum in schools, we want zero population growth, we want equal opportunities for women, we want sex education in schools (wake up guys, teens now are having sex behind your back and LYING to you about it. You want your sons and daughters to get a disease or kill themselves trying to get an illegal abortion?), we want television to provide quality programs that nurture the mind, we want subsidized gasoline to be a thing of the past, we want the FPI (the hypocritical "Islamic defense front" abolished, we want the freedom to chose any religion (not a choice of only 5 or 6), and we don't need our religion printed on our identity cards (I lost my ATM card last month and I had to make a police report! They asked my religion on the form!), we want village leaders mind their own business when it comes to unmarried couples because "piety" is PERSONAL. We want people who are in love to be allowed to marry outside of their own religion without having to fly to Singapore. We want kids to have adults they can turn to with their problems and their thoughts without being judged. We want an Indonesia that is conscious and honest and free from corruption. That's what I've always wanted. We will be continuing on to Bali... and as soon as we get the money we are going to continue on the do the ENTIRE country. And we are raising the stakes.

Jason Daniels

Right on Sacha! You've definitely touched on sensitive issues that need to be honestly addressed. As you've said before, it's a shame you can't run for President, but if you become WNI, maybe you can run for Parliament!

Erik Brock


Great post and keep up the fight. You brought up so many issues that need to be addressed.
Your love for Indonesia shows through this post good luck and keep up the fight.



That's a lot of issues to try to deal with at once! I have found that the Story is similar in other developing countries - may be your work can inspire changes everywhere!


i feel the same all the time .. i am always the black ship ,, lonely because no one understand me .. my parents wont let me leave the house until im married and im 25 now .. i cant talk back to anyone without making some one feel offended even when i believe im right and theyre wrong .. my canadian-taiwanese boyfriend told me once im like a bule trapped in indonesian body ,, pretty much the opposite of you ,, who might be an indonesian trapped in bule figure .. im so desperate of the life here i wanted to live somewhere else .. i wonder what i can contribute to my culture ,, the only thing left i love about indonesia .. but no one seems to care about our own culture .. they dont even care about the beauty of our own mother language ,, bahasa indonesia .. therefore i made up my mind about what i wanted to be after graduating university .. i will be an editor ,, for bahasa indonesia .. i will master it ,, i will try my hardest to make people care to use the proper bahasa indonesia .. but is not really easy .. im working for a newspaper which doesnt even care about its contents .. im desperete .. how am i gonna make a change .. ? im hoping to learn a lot from these people at this newspaper ,, but my former knowledge is left unuse because they wont listen to everything i'd say to improve the quality .. reading your stories really inspired me ,, and makes me even believe that i am NOT crazy for having all these thought in my mind .. keep fighting sacha ,, keep true to yourself .. and i will for sure continue fighting with my own will too ..

tukang tulis

You make some good points, and I agree with you on some of them (and not on others), but your position seems to be something like this: "I love Indonesia and its people and culture, except for (all the facets of Indonesian culture and societal structure - rules - that I find personally objectionable and feel they need to be changed / reversed / abolished). As soon as Indonesian society is remade in the image of what I prefer, then it will be as great as I want it to be." Lihat seperti ka'u s'ikit sombong, 'kan? Ini orang 'gak sabar, ya?

I lived in Indonesia (Jakarta) for almost four years in the 1970s as an expat worker's child, and I've lived here for almost another four years now as an expat worker myself (teacher). I am married to a WNI and she is one of those "praying with Arabic words that ... don't understand", except that, she does in fact understand them ... as do I, to some extent.

Again, you have made some valid criticisms, but as well as you seem to have learned the language and "absorbed" the culture, you must understand that many aspects of the culture are deeply rooted, whether they are the positive ones or the negative ones, and that even this attribution of "positive" or "negative" values is one of subjective perspective. To think that you can effect positive change with a "bull in a china shop" attitude is not only both unrealistic and naive, it is also somewhat condescending I think. I don't offer this comment as gratuitous or negative criticism, but with sincerity, in case you should read it and think otherwise.

"Semoga Allah memberkati semuanya, untuk membesarkan mereka dalam pengetahuan dan kebijaksanaan, amin."


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