Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Java Trip (VII)

The Belgian tourist with an Indonesian student

How Indonesians learn English

I joined a package tour to Kawah Ijen immediately after the Bromo tour. There were a total of four participants – two Belgians, one Austrian, and me.

We stopped at a resto in Pantai Pasir Putih for lunch. As we were waiting for our food to be served, a group of students entered the premises and started to chat with the Westerners. It turned out that their teacher wanted them to practice their English with foreign tourists. (My Austrian tour mate told me that she had similar experience elsewhere in Indonesia. It looked like such practice was common throughout the island nation.)

These students even asked for the e-mail addresses and Facebook accounts of the Westerners…

But I was left fuming, “WTF, do you think I don’t speak English!??”


  1. haha, before i finish reading.. i have already expected they didn't even bother to talk to you!! :D

  2. and very true, i got it right!! haha, i guess you don't look like a foreigner to them at all, if not thought you are their own people~~ :D

  3. but they did ask you to help them take a photo with your tourmates?? in Bahasa Indonesia?? hehehehe~~ very high possibility i guess.. :p

  4. Hehe...their misconception is that only Caucasians speak English and not other Asians. Duh! Not all Caucasians people speak English!

  5. You probably looked like a Nihonjin or a Korean to them ..again they merely assume..haha

  6. Perhaps you looked like Indonesians. :p

  7. well..english is the westerners' first language.

  8. i agreed. you have Malay look as your skin is dark!! ;P

  9. hahaha! chill chill! :D maybe u looked not friendly to them?? :p

  10. haha... very funny ending lar!! I bet it was because you looked too fierce and they didn't dare to come approach you. You know lar, with you not smiling all the time (like in the pictures), you COULD look a little scary :P

  11. SK
    I was with a tour group. They should know I was a (foreign) tourist.
    No, they didn't ask me to take picture. But I asked to take their picture.

    Mei Teng
    You're right. Not all Caucasians speak English.

    You may be right...

    They knew I was a tourist.

  12. blee
    Not all Westerners speak English as their first language.

    Malay look or not, I was a tourist.

    Caroline, Witch
    Don't bad-mouth me!

  13. That's a great way of learning and practising spoken English though their assumption is off the mark. Put it down to their loss..

  14. Haha major misconception: white ppl = english-speaking! :D

    Anyway, Brorobudur has loads of these students. While I applaud this initiative as one of the better ways to improve one's english, it gets annoying when u're being bugged by students saying, "sir, do u mind practising english with us?" "mister, are you free?" when u're in the middle of appreciating the splendour of the ancient monument! give me a break... ~.~

  15. Belgian (French Belgians anyway) tend to speak English like French people - very badly! So yeah. I bet your English was better :-D


  16. It's a good thing not to be bugged by those annoying students!
    A blessing in disguised

  17. happysurfer
    I am not sure if that was a good way to practice spoken English.

    It sounds it there are advantages of being non-White, haha...

    Yes, that's the right word - stereotyping.

    Haha... thanks for dropping by.

  18. Practice makes perfect..

    Btw, have just linked to your Mount Bromo post.

  19. Actually no, I was speaking from experience! Haha... I hv to *cruelly* reply them, "no, am not free!". LOL, imagine their disappointment! XD

  20. Haha, I wouldn't ask you too if I were them.

  21. The same style of approaching strangers is practised in Japan too. I have never been approached because I look very much Asian! :D

  22. The Thais and Indonesians are hungry to have foreign friends! The Indons mistook that you were their local Chinese otherwise you would be a hottie to them. They love Malaysians too and they love KL so much! That's what I learnt when I was working in Jakarta.

  23. Haha!! This is funny! But if I am them, I will also approach the Westerners, not Asians. LOL!!