Gratification, Corruption and Cultural Relativism in Indonesia

My wife came with me because Pak Ibrahim asked her to,” he said. “He was my senior while I was in Aceh. We have a cultural relationship. I couldn’t say no.”

From “Flight to Shanghai on Tycoon’s Jet Lands Minister in KPK’s Sights” via thejakartaglobe.com

Let me first begin by stating my opinion that corruption of public funds to the detriment of our nation at large and, especially, the economically less fortunate among us is a fatal cancer on our society that needs to be eradicated for us to survive.Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way…

This case of Mr. Mustafa being told by his senior to ride on the plane to Shanghai with him reminds me of this “adat” (“custom”) that we have in my parents’ and ancestor’s culture. When someone comes to our house no matter what time it is the host must provide something to eat, and the guest must eat what was offered.

My guess is that the purpose of this ritual is as a symbolic gesture of trust, and to reinforce that trust. But I don’t have anthropological data to back that up. So there you go.

So anyways, so the rule goes, if the host doesn’t offer something then the host is insulting the guest, and likewise if the guest doesn’t accept the offer then the guest is insulting the host. Yes offers like this can be seen as “gratification” or “bribery” in some cases, but on the other hand…

So anyways modernism aside and everything, what I’m asking is must Indonesia “abandon its roots” to “progress into the brave new world?” And just what are our roots anyway? If we still have any at all to speak of?

#justhinking ::please CMIIW::

[link via Brett McGuire]

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Author: Ferdi Zebua

For more info visit my WordPress.com blog, my Google+, or my Ello.

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