Monday, June 7, 2010
Indonesia, Indonesia - The power of ignoring
A funny thing happens when I move around in Indonesia with one or both of my sisters here. Both of them have an Indonesian father, mine is Dutch. Since my dad's genes were also significantly stronger than my mom's, I turned out several shades lighter than my siblings. This often leads to surprised looks or exclamations varying around:"Noooooo! Are you REALLY sisters?!".
But mostly it leads to nothing. Absolutely nothing. Last week, on the bus we start talking to a woman. My sister tells her I'm her adik (little sister) and the woman asks me if I'm studying Indonesian somewhere. I'm wondering if she even heard what my sister just said. She just completely ignored the 'sister' part. And she's not the only one. Most people just did not hear that. This white girl is her sister?! No, that's beyond comprehension. So what better way to deal with it than to ignore it? Problem solved.