President Joko Widodo bemoans Indonesians’ ‘inlander’ mentality

President Joko Widodo. Photo: Instagram/@jokowi
President Joko Widodo. Photo: Instagram/@jokowi

We at Coconuts have been adamant for quite a while that cultural inferiority complex has no place in the 21st century, and it’s nice to see President Joko Widodo on our side on this issue.

Related — Opinion: Indonesian media must stop feeding our inferiority complex by making a big deal out of locals marrying ‘bules’

The president today gave a speech at the National Democratic (NasDem) party’s 10th anniversary celebration, in which he spoke in general terms about what must be done for the country to progress.

One stand-out soundbite involved Jokowi bemoaning what he sees as Indonesians clinging on to their inferiority complex when facing foreigners.

“I don’t want this inferior mentality, this inlander mentality, this colonized mentality to be entrenched in our nation’s mentality. [Indonesians] meeting bules is like such a big deal to them. It’s sad,” Jokowi said, using the colloquial term to describe foreigners, usually caucasian.

The term “inlander” is a sensitive one among Indonesians, as it was used by Dutch colonialists to describe colonized native Indonesians (or pribumi in Indonesian).

“Maybe we have inlander mentality, colonized mentality, inferior mentality because it’s in our DNA and it’s transferred through generations after we were colonized for 350 years,” Jokowi continued.

The president then called on NasDem cadres to lead the charge in shedding the nation’s inferiority complex.

While Jokowi’s speech may be rousing and appeal to our nationalistic spirits, in reality, not all Indonesians cower at the sight of foreigners. If that were the case, we wouldn’t have Indonesians making huge splashes in business and in showbiz in recent years. We can only hope for more Indonesians conquering this increasingly globalized world in the future.

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