08 September 2010

Ramadan -- A Time of Peace, Harmony, and a Little Reflection...

There must be something in the water or air out Lombok way this Ramadan. It seems that foreigners and the local populace cannot find any common ground upon which to co-exist peacefully.

The latest incident saw another expat home trashed. Stephen Alexander, a German, complained to the local Village Head of Lembah Sari that someone had destroyed his garden statues (presumably they were not gnomes).

His manner of complaint, and a suggestion that the local Muslim populace were poor imitations of good Muslims inspired the local Muslim populace to show him how good they were, and they trashed his house.

One has to wonder whether the matter of principle here was really worth the ultimate outcome? A few statues for a whole house, hmmmm? The statues allegedly resembled Hindu figures and Alexander had been asked to remove them. The Jakarta Globe is reporting that Alexander is a Muslim. Maybe he now wishes that he had just moved them into the backyard or out of plain view.

I am all for a little peaceful co-existence, some harmony, and a little reflection. However, all of these things seem to be premised on a little bit of tolerance. Expats have to understand there are ways and means in Indonesian society where you can express your displeasure and get results in your favour. And, there are ways and means that will only enrage and facilitate a response that will only serve to escalate any tensions present. That said, Indonesians also need to develop a little bit thicker skin and appreciate that no matter how long the expat lives in Indonesia that sometimes the expats just cannot help but to revert to what they know or who they are.

When it is all said and done, jumping up and down on the spot and yelling is not likely to see the outcome you want eventuate. Alexander has learned this the hard way.

The moral of the story here...tolerance. We all need to learn a little bit of it. Surely among adults this is a dispute that could have been resolved without insulting the local populace or the trashing of someone's house.

Ho hum...

No comments: