Can I Call You “Indo” ?

Scene 1: at lunch table, with my Boss, a Dutchman, managers, and colleagues. The Boss’s wife is half Indonesian, one of the colleague is American, and I sit somewhere around the table.

Boss: (speaking in English) “My wife’s is an Indisch…”

American Colleague: “your wife is from India?”

B : “no, my wife is half Indonesia, we call it ‘Indisch’ here”

AC : “ooh I see, it’s Indisch, I thought you said India”

Me: “in Indonesia we call it ‘Indo‘, I think it was supposed to mean someone half Dutch but now it means someone half-non Indonesia”

B: “ah, we call it ‘Indo’ as well, but Indisch is more popularly used”

Scene 2: my office room, shared with 4 other colleagues. One of them is Dutch and he asked me:

Colleague: “Kania, can I call you ‘Indo’?”

Me: “hm… (thinking to myself what a compliment that would be, images of Ari Wibowo, Nadine Chandrawinata, flashes right before my eye) you can, but I’m not Indo..”

C: “but you’re Indonesian…”

Me: “is that how you call us here? Because in Indonesia, Indo means someone with one of the parents is non-Indonesian”

C: “really? Cause I use to call my Indonesian (descent) with ‘Indo’… (thinking) maybe because they’re half Indonesian…”

Me: “well, you can call me that, I still think that’s a kinda flattering”

C: “hah, why do you like to be called that?”

Me: “well, in Indonesia, Indos are very popular because they’re mostly good looking… many Indonesian movie stars are Indo, it’s the easiest way to get famous”

All the rest in the room: “ooh… (thinking)”

One notable point of view:  Indonesian think that ‘Indo’ is half foreign, while here ‘Indo’ is half Indonesian. While it’s one of the same but still the idea (a little bit) surprised me.


6 thoughts on “Can I Call You “Indo” ?

  1. Bukannya kita sering (dan seneng) singkat Indonesia dengan Indo? Gw malah nangkapnya Indo = Indonesia? Bukan half half … hehehe 😛

  2. @kusut: they were really surprised when I said that “indo are usually good looking and very pretty…” they were like “hm… ” 😀

    @kun: it’s okay but then the word ‘Indon’ I think was popular bc the malays and singaporeans who employed Indonesian domestic helpers, called the helpers with ‘Indon’… which is kinda sarcastic and racist (or not)

    @olin: Indo here (your comment) is refer to Indonesia, as in country… while the Indo we’re (me and my colleagues) talking about the person, it’s an personal adjective not a place

    • itu juga yang gw bilang ke mereka, kalo indo di indonesia itu deket asosiasinya ke muka ganteng/cantik calon model/bintang sinetron/putri indonesia (urutan bs disesuaikan) dan tanggapan mereka: “really?”

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