So often I come across this comment by Indonesian “pesbukers”. Meaning “May I share?” (this post/photo/video), it not only shows to me (and millions of people who are watching them across the planet on social media) several things about Indonesians and the culture they live in.
Indonesians are both polite and like to pretend they’re polite. Certainly in public most Indonesians don’t like taking social risks, such as expressing an opinion or making a fuss. Perhaps in this case they don’t want to cause offence by sharing something that isn’t intended to be shared. Many people here like to lick up to people who they feel have a higher status or are older than themselves: they attempt to do this by being uber polite.
Many Indonesians don’t understand and don’t know how to use social media. E.g. the difference between a communications app like Whatsapp (“Wazap”) or Line and a platform like FB or Twitter. If a post is made on FB it means that it is meant to be shared unless the person who posted has set the permissions otherwise. So there is no need to ever ask permission from the poster. If the permissions are set so that the posters’ posts can’t be shared, then you won’t be able to share their posts even if you want to. With lack of knowledge of how a platform like Facebook works, I’ve known Indonesians to block friends and even family members claiming that they are sick of seeing them posting too much. An obvious common knowledge way around this is simply to unfollow.
A lot of people in Bali don’t know how to act with social norms in a group on apps such as Whatsapp or Line. Rather than use it for the communicative function within the parameters of the theme or aim of the group, many members send irrelevant material to the group members that can be annoying (selling services or products) or cause offence (violent or pornographic images and videos). For example, my wife who is a member of our village committee group where they use WA to communicate. A number of the male members regular post humorous images which are sexual in nature to the group instead of writing messages: culturally this demonstrates not only low levels of education but also reflects the patriarchal and chauvinistic attitudes in general Indonesian society.
In my next article, I’m going to explain why perhaps a large portion of Indonesian society is so left behind in terms of understanding of computers and the Internet.
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