Honesty Story

Dec 7th, 2007, in Opinion, by

Iamisaid on ordinary honesty and medical care in Indonesia.

A silver lining in the Indonesian cloud

Whilst it is the contemporary tendency to point towards gloom, doom and forlorn hopes with regards to just about anything that mentioned about Indonesian affairs, I have a true story as well as a few more events that point to a silver lining in the Indonesian cloud.

Bemo Accident

For now, I will relate just this one incident.

On that particular morning, I hailed down a transport van as I had an appointment with the Mayor of the City.

Unfortunately, this transport van was unusually smaller and lower than others. Perhaps it is due to to its unusual small size that I boarded it rather clumsily.

As I stepped into the van, my head hit the top of the door. The impact was so hard that it resulted in me suffering an instant concussion. I remember hearing a solid thud as the top of my head made that awful hit.

It must have been several seconds later before I gained consciousness. I was informed that I fell off the vehicle and landed flat on my back.

Blood was spurting out from the gash on top of my head. I could barely see as my eyes were doused with blood.

Passers-by helped me up to my feet and guided me back to the Hotel Lobby. The Hotel staff made immediate arrangements for me to be taken to the Navy Hospital for treatment.


Did I lose my wallet or a part of its contents? No.
Did I lose my expensive wristwatch? No.
Did I lose any personal effects that I wore? No.

Later, even my Indonesian friends admitted that that was incredible – that I was not robbed of anything.

Medical Care

At the Navy Hospital, I was given a local anesthetic jab before being sutured.

Most surprisingly, the Navy Hospital did not charge me for the treatment. That goes against the oft-heard complaint from foreigners that Indonesians take full advantage at every possible opportunity or contrive an opportunity if there isn’t any.

Back home in my motherland, I had my family doctor to assay the wound and to do whatever was still necessary.

To my utter amazement, the doctor declared that my scalp suture was one of the best that he has seen in his medical profession and that there was no need for any corrective action.

Salute to Indonesia!

There is still a good conscience in Indonesia.
It is not all gloom, doom or is there a reason for despair.

14 Comments on “Honesty Story”

  1. Wan says:

    Thanks for that story, it was refreshing. I have been reading too many doom and gloom stories in this site from jaded people. We do need more stories like this, let us not make more reasons to despair. We need hope !

  2. Andrew says:

    Iamisaid, what you experienced is an exception. I hope that becomes a rule though.

  3. Cukurungan says:

    Wan said :

    I have been reading too many doom and gloom stories in this site from jaded people.

    me :

    The doom and gloom stories are much much better than a suicide note and followed by shooting in the mall.

    Teng, dragonwall, raden, fake wong cilik and dewaratu should thanks to Patung who already created this site to vent their frustration and they should thank to me as well for my contributions relentlessly entertaining them.

  4. Janma says:

    thanks cuk.

  5. ecky says:

    Agree with Wang, this is refreshing.

    After all, Indonesia isn’t that bad eh 🙂

  6. Aluang Anak Bayang says:

    Dear Iamisaid,

    Did I lose my wallet or a part of its contents? No.
    Did I lose my expensive wristwatch? No.
    Did I lose any personal effects that I wore? No.

    I am not at all surprised. This is Indonesia, dude; not China, Hongkong, Vietnam, Singapore or even Malaysia. Where there is higher concentration of Chinese, robberies and gangsterism are rampant. The Indonesian have less aggressive characteristic as oppose to the Chinese. I hope I do not sound too racist but on my many trips to China, my Chinese business associates always commented that they are surprised at the lack of gang related violence, robberies and bullyings in Indonesia society; despite Indonesia earned its reputation as the worst anti-Chinese nation. In China, one could even be killed for a body organ in a public toilet.

  7. Dragonwall says:

    created this site to vent their frustration?

    Do you really understand the word frustration? Anger? This blog is expressing of views and opinions initially, but most of the time it ended up being agitated or provoked and to me it seemed you were trying to get attention to downplay your ever provocative side.

    This has never been the norm but sad to hear what happened but fortunately a bright star had shone on you that day and if not wrong you were in Surabaya. Try Jakarta and see what happened.

    As to place like Singapore! It had hardly occured once for an accident victim to be robbed. As for robberies and gangsterism it prevails everywhere and most of them came across the straits. China, Hongkong, Macau, Taiwan and Vietnam were extreme exceptional case where crime and gang had been a tradition since way back when. It is perhaps you have not heard of gangsterism but premanisme in Indonesia. So what are the difference.

    The provocator and the Islamic preacher (How righteous I am unsure) should know what is written instead of making your presence felt.

  8. Anita McKay says:

    In China, one could even be killed for a body organ in a public toilet.

    And I thought it’s just an urban legend!

  9. dewaratugedeanom says:

    Aluang said

    The Indonesian have less aggressive characteristic as oppose to the Chinese.

    Except when they are in a mob or militia.

  10. John Orford says:

    i am at all not surprised – in fact this is what i would expect!

  11. Achmad Sudarsono says:


    Yes, it’s always nice to hear an uplifting story.

    Now how about an honest answer: what do you think of the health system as opposed to incredible pieces of luck, like in your case.

    It’s the system that counts most of the time.

  12. iamisaid says:

    Achmad Sudarsono,

    Quote : “what do you think of the health system?”

    From what I know.

    For the Indonesians who are living at subsistence level and in remote areas, their choice is only traditional medicines. Naturophaty is their system. They believe in it because its been like that for generations.

    I know a few Indonesians who rub kerosene oil on their sore gums when they can’t stand a toothache. That is not even naturophaty. They simply can’t afford dental treatment.

    The kind of health system that we (foreigners) are accustomed to, although available, it is unfortunately is not affordable to a large percentage of Indonesians for reasons we all know. There is not yet a free medical care system for Indonesians. The exception are specially sponsored ones (mostly the kind that are disaster relief) but these are not routine and do not fall under the ambit of health system.

    That the Indonesian Navy or Armed Forces Hospitals also serve the Indonesian public and charge for medical service rendered or due to lack of finance, this may not be extended to cover the public.

    Generally, I find that most Indonesians are conscious of personal hygiene and they are aware of what good health means to them.

    Their apotiks which are many in the towns and cities; these offer a good range of over-the-counter medicines. That I take as a positive indicator of health awareness and at the very least, availability of medicines.

    With regards to fundamental health system – such as treated water, modern sanitation and waste disposal – again, owing to prevailing attitudes, from my experience, it is left to the individual’s ability. The Indonesian Government could do much more than what it is by today’s standards.

    Quote : “incredible pieces of luck, like in your case.”

    Full agreement, that and a few other instances, I was incredibly fortunate especially when mishaps happen away in a foreign land.

  13. Pulutan says:

    After an accident somebody lies in his blood on the asphalt – and does NOT get robbed! Wow! What an uplifting story! Such hunamity! A place where such selflessness is possible can only go up. (Maybe the fact that there might have been too many curious bystanders/witnesses helped, too.)

    Couldn’t help notice that the general assumption and expectation seems to be that helpless victims get robbed in Indonesia. That being the case, this “silver lining on the horizon” is little cause for optimism.

  14. Pramod Sharma says:


    According to my view, People should be very honesty. never bothering anyone without any reason. we should be very polite. as somebody has called “HONESTY IS THE BEST POLICY IN THE WORLD. in real be polite and very honest.

    Pramod Sharma

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