Area Serius, Sosial Politik
Comment 1

The Rubber Watch

I do not usually post a status in Facebook. When I do, it is probably because of one of these few reasons: publishing my blog post, sharing something nice from the web, showing of, or a kind of wondering/asking a question.

This week (of December 25th, 2013) I posted a Facebook status below. Actually, I have about 5 articles in line for this blog but it is not finished yet. In this 25th December according to my calendar, I must post something in this date. My will now is full of this Facebook status. The reason publish this articles is because 1) that post is full of typing and grammar mistake (I wanted to edit it but Facebook won’t let me), 2) some sentences is not clear and probably reader won’t understand my true intent, 3) I don’t know how to feel about this matter and wish to get more feedback (globally).

This status has been corrected and reworded because the original one is a little bit unclear. The correct one (I hope) should be this. Correction is in blue. (On the time of this article’s writing, I was not yet aware about the “edit status” feature of Facebook)

Really. Indonesian people should learn that if they want to meet at 4 don’t say it at 3 o’clock. I hate being late actually  but knowing this fact I always be careful to arrive at the exact time or 5 minutes late. I will never arrive like 15 or 20 minutes before the time, it would be suicide. It’s not only 2 or 3 times I have to wait 1 hour (or more). Someone did that suicide thing and then I gave him a saying “sir, you must be careful when attending Indonesian event, the earliest is 5 minutes late“.  In respond to that, a lad gave me a strict advice/warning me “hey, if everyone thinks to come late, the event will never be on time, isn’t it?“.

Which I responded and will always respond with: “Oh yeah? And if everyone thinks late except me (and the newcomer of this community), what will it be?


And yet here I am, still alone, waiting, for the next hour to come. The lad also did not come on time.

There are two things that make me post this status (and this article) with which would make a lot of people hurt (I hope). The first: waiting is boring. Especially, waiting outside in winter with nobody around. Lucky that I brought my cellphone and Facebook asked me “what on your mind?” and I just answer her nagging.

The second is here. I come at the exact time because two persons which represents two different sport activity (badminton and futsal, even though it is in one place) tell the same 3 o’clock by two different communication medium. I have the responsibility to come because the sport utilities is keep in my room. Of course, I confident that such a late will not happen. I mean, what is the probability of two persons with different activity to look forward to comes both of them late. If you see the probability chart (P1-Late-P2-Ontime, P1-Ontime-P2-Late, P1-P2-Ontime, P1-P2-Late), the answer is 25%. At least, I can meet one of them (or representative) at a bearable time range.

But, Peter is right: “the unexpected always happened”.

For you non-Indonesian reader out there, there is a saying in our country that “Indonesian watch is made from rubber” which means that we are always late. That is not necessary true though. Of course, lateness depends from one person to another. Additionally, somebody most likely will be on time when meeting another country’s citizen even though he/she is always late when meeting fellow Indonesia. Here, I hear (and face) this phenomena: We arrange our internal (fellow nation member) events so that it will be held up to one hour after the scheduled time. Why?

I don’t know.

If you read my status carefully, you will realize that I am also a late-comer. I am also Indonesian after all. It’s in my blood. I will come to class in the range of five minutes of its starting time. I (or maybe we, Indonesian) cannot bear to wait. Everyone hates waiting, aren’t they? That’s why, I will come at the time the event is ready to start, so not to waste any of my precious time. Five minutes waiting is boring enough. Maybe that is also a reason for why people comes late. BUT, in those case, one hour? I mean, I can use one hour to watch three episode of my favorite anime. I usually not a person that complaint, actually. I can handle enough misfortune to not sighing publicly. But, maybe missing some anime for waiting outside in cold season make my blood boiling.

Actually, and obviously, late is not a special property to Indonesian people. Non-Indonesian people also can be late. And of course, many people of different region believe that “their own geographical region or ethnic group is unique for its casual attitude toward punctuality” (as quoted from psychologytoday). Not just Indonesian, some ethnic group also thinks that tardiness is their’s special property. Everyone (and every ethnic) can be late and everyone (and every ethnic) did that. If you do a Google a bit on this subject – like me, you will read that.  It’s just some people is later than the others.

But how?

And why some people that always be late always be late?

I don’t know. I planned to make an elaborate explanation in this article which I usually did when I wanted to discuss something. But, you can find those reason on the web. 23 reasons why you’re always late, 100 reasons to be late, 11 reasons for a late period (?). I wanted to list them here but now, two weeks after this article was created for the first time, I feel lazy. Actually, the article from  psychologytoday sums it up quite a bit.

Now we know that it is not our DNA’s fault, Indonesian’s DNA’s fault that we always late. Maybe it’s only that the population of Indonesia is bigger or the scale of Indonesian tardiness is hour (not minute). So, how is it not to be late? I myself do not know. Maybe it’s better to read this huffingtonpost’s article and buy a watch (I plan to, not a rubber one of course). Don’t forget to exercise in time calculation and act accordingly. Finally, don’t forget that even though you hate waiting, other people also hate it. Therefore, do not make others wait.

On the day that I post the status, one person gave me a consolation and remarked that this culture of chronic tardiness that made him lose interest in the PPI’s event. Surprisingly, two weeks later when we went for our own vacation (not a PPI’s event), he himself were late. No, I do not blame him for that. The writer of this blog also can be and will be late. I just want to give an example that everyone hate it. Hate for someone lateness and hate for being late. But, it’s just we can’t help it when the time is come.

If you search enough, you will notice that this subject is a blur and delicate. That’s why I write this article and want to receive some opinions regarding it, globally if possible.

1 Komentar

  1. kareldeschepper says

    What you say (I believe) is all true; being late is troublesome for the other, waiting for the other is also troublesome. In Japan, this is something that is not so tolerated as it shows a lack of disrespect, and a lot of actions depends on it. In my country it is the same, yet it still happens.
    For me it is the same, I hate the waiting part, so I am always 5min late. It al started for me in high school when I was so tired I arrived 15min late at school. I was embarrassed, and people did not expect that for me to happen. Yet, the world was still the same, so I the pressure to be on time reduced and I was late more often.
    At the time I was in the university; first year I did a lot of effort, but sometimes you just can’t help to be late for some reason. Then suddenly, I had the same reaction. It was not such a big deal, so it became a habit again. This is now actually a problem for me ^^. Arriving on time is important for both work and social situations (you should be the one that has to wait 10 minutes instead of your girlfriend, right?) Also, hurrying make you forget important things and you feel less relaxed. Well that is how I feel anyway. But waiting is also such a pain.

    Some countries, like yours, it is indeed a (very crazy) habit of arriving one hour later. I cannot imagine how companies can organize themselves with such a high uncertainty. But somehow it works. But I think it is the same situation as I experienced. The world is still there, nothing has changed, and arriving on time does not feel so important anymore. Probably, Indonesian society has adapted to being late for 5 min, than 10 and so on until it became what it is now.
    Back at the time I did team projects at my university, we had meetings every Friday at 9 AM. But some people were a little late. For the one who arrived on time, this was very unpleasant. After a while, everybody arrived late and the teamwork suffered a lot. Everybody arrived at the hour he was comfortable with. I guess it is the same in your society?
    In Europe it is well known that during collaboration with countries with that kind of culture, this is one of the biggest issues. Some companies even prepare themselves just to learn how deal with countries with that kind situations ^^.
    But that does not mean that we are very strict and always on time! It is like you said, it is not in DNA to be late or to be on time, it is just a behavior. In your situation, it just got out of hand, like it was in my team.
    Public transport in Japan is very handy and always within 1 minute range on time right? In Belgium, trains and busses are quite terrible. They are less frequent, always late (5 to 30min), or sometimes even early. Just as my previous example; the situation just got out of control. Belgian people are quite angry, especially for trains. And the transport companies spend a lot of time and effort to correct this behavior, but the system is too big to change so rapidly… We are also a small country and our impact is not so significant as Japan is though.

    Well, this is only my opinion.

    Anyway, I am working on my tardiness! I am also thinking of buying a watch. Smartphone watch just doesn’t cut it anymore ^^.

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