“International Look”, a perfect term to describe how I look. Being born from Asian Family, I inherit the Asian looks, the international looks, from my parents. So Asian that, during my trip to Singapore, China, Japan and Hong Kong, I was often greeted with the local language, being mistakenly perceived as native resident of those places.
It doesn’t stop at foreign land. Last week, I visited a head quarter of a local private company in Jakarta. They hire lots of international consultant, so the receptionist is used to see those Asian faces wandering in their office. Queuing in front of me is native Indonesian, whose company ID card is being rejected. He had to submit government-issued ID card, such as KTP, or Driving License. My turn came, and with my international look, what I need to do is to reply the receptionist with English. “Second Floor”, I said, and BANG, she accepted my company’s ID card, without further inquiry.
Me and my friend, and Indonesian-born who has become foreign citizen, then passed another security check. The security officer, a Native Indonesian, nods at me, while my friend was being held, asked to wait for an employee to walk him through the office. I have to reply, in English of course, that my friend was with me until the security let him go.
The receptionist, the security officer, the person in front of me, and I myself is Indonesian. Written in our birth certificate, passport, and other official document: Citizenship: Indonesian. But why should we receive different treatment because of how we look? And even worse, why should we treat other Indonesian differently based on how they look?
Another friend called me last weekend, inquiring about the earthquake in West Sumatra at the end of September. She expressed his concern that, Indonesian Citizen with “International Look” being discriminated when receiving helps. Part of me wants to believe it, and, having read the top Indonesian news website, I almost decided to withhold my donation.
But don’t we all Indonesian? Those with green passport with Garuda in front of it? Then why should I hesitant to help my own countrymen, if even people from multiple nationality offers their help to us! Those from US, Spain, Australia, Japan, and many more works 24×7, just to save us, Indonesian Citizen. Why don’t we lend a hand, without discriminating based on physical attributes, but based on who need the most?
We don’t need our people to line up on the street when our neighbor disrespectfully claims our culture to be their culture. Nor when they claim 2 islands to be their territory. What we need is to respect each other, to treat Indonesian the same respect as we treat others. If we treat our fellow countrymen disrespectfully, why should we expect others to treat us equally?
Sidenote: I revisited the office this morning, and proudly replied: “lantai dua”, while handed over my KTP. On it written: Citizenship: Indonesian.