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Lesson Transcript

Fira: [Hello in Indonesian] ! Welcome back to IndonesianPod101.com. This is Fira.
Gina: And I’m Gina. This is All About, Lesson 8, Introduction to Indonesian Society.
Fira: In this lesson you’ll learn some basic information about Indonesia.

Lesson focus

Gina: It seems like there are so many aspects to Indonesian society, it’s hard to know where to begin!
Fira: Well, I’ve picked five topics; major cities and city life, family life, work culture, politics, and generational trends in Indonesia.
Gina: That sounds good. Okay, let’s start with city life.
Fira: Gina, do you know which city in Indonesia is the biggest?
Gina: Why of course! The so-called "Big Durian" itself–Jakarta!
Fira: That’s right. Jakarta is Indonesia’s capital and it’s also the largest city in the country. There are an estimated eight million people living in the city of Jakarta.
Gina: That’s a huge number! And it explains why Jakarta is so crowded almost everywhere you go.
Fira: That’s right. Jakarta has many different districts and each have their own personality. One of them is called Kuningan, which is something like the luxury district. There you’ll find many top-name hotels. For the casual tourists, though, it’s not the most interesting area as it’s primarily a commercial center.
Gina: But there are some more popular places for tourists right?
Fira: Right. In Jakarta, we also have Glodok, the Chinatown district, Ancol, the amusement park, and Taman Mini Indonesia, an amazing theme park featuring the cultural diversity of Indonesia. Also in central Jakarta, you’ll find the Istiqlal Mosque.
Gina: Right! The largest mosque in Southeast Asia. Okay. What other major cities do we have in Indonesia?
Fira: I’d like to introduce two other cities; the court towns of Yogyakarta and Solo, which are famous for their traditional court-based cultures. Yogyakarta and Solo are about 440 kilometers or 276 miles away from Jakarta.
Gina: I heard that it takes about five and a half hours on the fastest train service.
Fira: That’s right. But still many tourists visit both Yogyakarta and Solo to visit the temples and the four royal courts.
Gina: Could you give us the names of the four royal courts?
Fira: Sure. There are two in Yogyakarta; the Kraton Ngayogyakarta Hadiningrat and Puro Pakualaman, and two in Solo; the Kraton Susuhunan Surakarta and Puro Mangkunegaran.
Gina: The best time to visit is Mohammed’s birthday. When exactly is this and what’s it called in Indonesian, Fira?
Fira: It’s called Sekaten, and it’s from the fifth to the twelfth day of Mulud month on the Javanese Calendar. Both places have special activities and rituals at the courts.
Gina: If you’d like to experience a more traditional side of Indonesia, visit these two cities. You won’t regret it. Now, let’s talk a bit about family life in Indonesian society.
Fira: There are a few interesting things to note. One is that you might still see big families in Indonesia compared to other countries.
Gina: That’s right. But it seems like there are more small families these days.
Fira: That’s true. The government has a saying that goes dua anak cukup, which means "Two children are enough!", so family sizes have been slowly decreasing.
Gina: Families themselves are getting smaller, but at the same time, you often see three generations living together under one roof in Indonesia.
Fira: Yes, but not so much in the larger cities where only the nuclear family members tend to be in a household.
Gina: For me, sometimes it’s surprising to see how long children live with their parents. It goes well into their adult years, and sometimes even until they are married.
Fira: That’s right. Some kids live with their parents even after getting married. Speaking of marriage, more and more Indonesian people are waiting until they are older to get married. It’s a fast-growing trend.
Gina: I heard that they used to get married around the age of twenty-five, but not anymore. Why is that?
Fira: Well, there are a lot of different factors that contribute to this. People are less willing to settle and are choosier about their partner. Many young women these days value their career, and sometimes getting married may hinder it. There could be many other things, as well.
Gina: Unfortunately the parents still want their children to marry once they reach a certain age though!
Fira: That’s true! And some parents might even have a matchmaking service to help with the search for a partner.
Gina: Okay, let’s talk about Indonesia’s economy and work culture.
Fira: Indonesian work culture has a pretty rigid hierarchy system.
Gina: Right, and while this type of system is not limited to work, it’s certainly magnified in the workplace.
Fira: So if you were to visit a workplace in Indonesia, you would easily be able to figure out who the seniors are, and who the little people are. As in many other cultures, we must address our seniors formally to show respect.
Gina: Many people in Indonesia work for long hours without pay. This is part of the work culture, as well.
Fira: I think because of things like this, more and more young people are choosing not to get full-time jobs. Getting a part-time job ensures that you’ll get paid properly for your time.
Gina: That’s good of course, but a full-time job ensures that you get paid, possibly, for life.
Fira: Yes, that’s the dilemma! And while the lifelong employment system, meaning until you retire, used to be common, a lot of companies in Indonesia don’t even guarantee that anymore.
Gina: I see. So life can be a bit unstable. Well! Let’s move on to politics for a moment. Fira, who is the current president of Indonesia as of 2013?
Fira: That would be President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, or also known as "SBY". He won his second term not too long ago, and the ruling political party is known as the Democratic Party.
Gina: Speaking of which, what is the political party system?
Fira: It’s based on the multi-political party system, or Partai Demokrat in Indonesian, and it’s only been around since 2001. The members are elected by the people, and seventeen is the legal age at which people can vote.
Gina: Sounds interesting. Tell me more!
Fira: I’d like to talk about the generation conflicts first. Because Indonesian society is changing so quickly in such a short period of the time, a lot of young people probably aren’t doing things in the same way their grandparents or even parents did before them.
Gina: Right, like the lifelong employment system, to name one.
Fira: Exactly. The older generation are really loyal to the company they work for. They’ll work a lot of unpaid overtime just to serve the good of the company. But the younger generation, on the other hand, doesn’t have the same mindset.
Gina: That seems to be a global trend.
Fira: Yes, and the same goes for marriage. People just don’t want to get married around at the age of twenty anymore.
Gina: Some people from older generations may see this as being selfish, but as societies evolve, we should recognize the importance to focus on other aspects of life, as well.
Fira: I agree. Well listeners, we hope that you learned something about Indonesian society in this lesson.
Gina: Be sure to check the lesson notes, and join us to learn more about Indonesian in the next lesson.


Gina: See you soon!
Fira: Sampai jumpa lagi