by Magus Kutabarat –
After 3 weeks of touring North Sumatra, Billy Bob came to Siantar to begin his job as consultant for a NGO company. His friend Rudolf had helped him find a place to live. He chose a simple house near Simpang Dua because it had a garden at the back and views to the hills near Lake Toba. Rudolf thought he should live in a security gated community, but Billy Bob wasn’t interested.
Rudolf helped him find a second-hand Honda Megapro motorbike. Billy Bob felt settled in and only needed one more requirement, but would have to wait and see.
He went to the NGO office to meet the staff. They all seemed friendly and happy to have him join their group. Some were Christian and some were Muslim, but all used popular western names. When he asked why no one used a traditional name, they all looked shy. Rudolf explained that they all had alias names, and no one used their official name in daily social. But no one would say why it was like this. Some people’s official name was only revealed when they married or died.
Many bule also use ‘nicknames’ or given one by friends. Billy Bob was called ‘Bilbo’ at school and at his football club. It was named after the character in Lord of the Rings story. Westerners used to be nicknamed because of the color of their skin or hair, but this is not so acceptable now because of racism or discrimination, unless they have the same color as you. Actually ‘white’ people usually have pink skin, especially ‘belanda goreng’, so they should be called ‘pinky’. Bule usually prefer suntanned brown skin and Asians mostly like whiter skin.
Its a strange world, and people are strange. Bule like to be individual in character and style. They don’t have to follow the ‘normal’ or usual habits of others. Bule free thinking and independence means they don’t have to follow others ideas if they don’t want. New ideas is more creative and discussion is encouraged to move forward, evolve and advance. If people remain in the same mindset, advancement is prevented. If everyone is afraid to be the first to try new then nothing will change.
But Billy Bob knew he couldn’t change too much, too soon, so he was happy to share ideas and let the other NGO locals decide how to advance. (to be continued)