Currently I’m sat in a cafe at the mall, trying to get some peace from the noise outside but instead there is loud, banging, repetitive music blasting out the speakers like we should be at a club. I feel like I should be dancing at a party with lights flashing everywhere. Now add that to horns beeping away on the roads, hormones flying all over the place and impatient people pushing their way through wherever you go, and you’ll get how I’m feeling right now. It’s definitely testing my patience, which is funny because this month I’ve been fasting to try be more patient.
It’s the end of Ramadan here and I’ve fasted for nearly four weeks, as I’ve learned over the past two years, through watching my friends, that fasting has many benefits, if you do it right. It teaches you to wait for the things you want and to control your emotions. Yes, food and drink are a must in a human’s life, but learning to control how much you actually need is important. I’m slowly starting to learn that no matter how angry or stressed I feel I must stop and think how lucky I am. At least I get to eat and drink when the sun sets. At least I have a roof over my head and at least I have friends and family that love and support me. This is a lot more than some people have. However, strangely, I am learning that those who have less are happier. They are the ones that have had to be patient to get enough money to eat. They’ve learned to control themselves and stay happy because life is too short to waste being sad or stressed. Fasting makes you realise this and helps you stay in control of your emotions no matter what you do or don’t have.
So you must think Indonesia is a very calm and patient country. Think again. I’ve come across so many impatience people in Makassar it’s unreal. It’s hard to understand why this is because most of them fast every year, which means they should have already learned the skill of patience and have the ability to control their emotions. However, when I go to the toilets and queue, in other words line up behind the person that was there before me, I find myself waiting for an extremely long time. This is because girls and women are constantly walking by me to stand next to one of the toilet doors so they can get in there first. How is that ok when they have clearly seen I was waiting. Is it because they don’t know what a queue is, or is it because they are impatient and cannot wait their turn. It is the same lining up to get anywhere. There have been numerous of times I’ve been waiting to pay in a shop and suddenly someone puts their things on the counter to pay before me. Why can’t they wait!? Is it ignorance? Is it impatience? I really don’t know because Indonesians are one of the friendliest people I have met. They have a high tolerance with each other and are patient when things don’t go their way. Take me for example, I am ranting on about things that annoy me in Makassar but an Indonesian would just accept them and stay calm.
Keeping calm is another way of controlling your emotions; however, they do not use this on the roads in Makassar. Traffic here is on a whole different level. The other day I was trying to cross the road on my bicycle so when I saw there were no cars or motorbikes coming I crossed to the middle of the road. Then some vehicles suddenly appeared so I waited and… I waited. No one stopped. Everyone was too impatient to get to where they wanted to go rather than stopping to let a girl, on her bicycle, cross to the other side. This also happened when a car was half way out onto the road, whilst coming out of a parking spot, and cars and motorbikes wouldn’t stop to let it come all the way out. Instead they continued to go around the car and ended up driving on the other side of the road. This then caused more traffic because the vehicles on the other side of the road had to wait. It became a very long process and people just sat there beeping their horns. Horns are continuously used here, especially at the crossroads and traffic lights. Cars try to drive between the two lines of traffic just get through first. They even drive on pavements. They cannot wait. It is very unsafe. Maybe people should be more educated on road safety and the rules they should follow. However, the people that do know the rules end up breaking them too, even me, as if you try to follow the rules you won’t get anywhere and will probably end up causing an accident. People are like sheep, they just follow everyone else.
Please know that this can’t be said for all Indonesian’s. It’s just what I view on a day to day basis and I can’t speak for everyone that lives here. There are those who have inspired me to continue fasting until the end and there are those who have made me confused as to how their behaviour contradicts what fasting should be teaching them.