Friends, today we are having a short general culture class. Please take out your notebook.
Funny or interesting facts about Indonesia I thought I would share with you. Don't thank me. I hope it will be more interesting than just reading Wikipedia, really. Over 17,000 islands. Yes, that many. Well, have a look at the map...you can see why.
It's huge, isn't it? So far I have only explored Bali and some of Sulawesi (see circles on the map). Yes, there's plenty to cover still.
Can you see the amount of water in between those thousands of islands? No wonder why Indonesia has a reputation of underwater paradise, with several species unique to the area. I don't know if I'll ever get to see all of it. For starters I want to dive Flores and Komodo, visit some of Borneo and Java...and I will need to get out of the country for visa renewal. Oh well, we'll see.
Around 240,000 millions of citizens. Yes, that many too. Who speak more than 700 differents dialects or languages. Learning Indonesian is just a starter, really...I have never heard of some of them. And even though parts of these languages are a derived form of Indonesian (which is really similar to Malay, by the way), some of them are just completely different. Balinese, for example, is completely obscure to people speaking Indonesian. (and apparently, almost impossible to learn if you are not a native. No, I won't try.)
Local money is Indonesian rupiah. Just so you know, I am a millionnaire in Indonesia, since 1 million of rupiah is worth around 100 USD. And since being a millionnaire is my dream in life, I moved out. Ha ha. The unconvenient thing about it is carrying tons of paper money all the time. And having to learn big numbers in Indonesian, since a bowl of steamed rice is worth a few thousands. Imagine when you go crazy and order chicken and a Coke with it...At least "tiga puluh ribu rupiah" (30.000 RP)!
Just like a lot of countries in the area, Indonesia or parts of it has been a colony for a few decades during the last centuries. Mainly a Dutch one, until WWII, when it was occupied by Japan for a few years, until it became independent in 1949. Probably the reasons why there are a lot of words in the Indonesian language that are very similar to Dutch or some sort of English. Minute: "minit", car: "motor", etc.
Culture is just as broad as the number of ethnic and / or religious groups around here (although islam is the major religion). So far no luck, but I'll keep you posted when I find an Indonesian record I actually like....