Mixed marriage in Indonesia—a review on
“Kisah Kasih dari Negeri pengantin –Cinta Antar Bangsa”
(Love Story from Brides Homeland–International Love) ”
Sari H Musdar
Currently “mixed marriage” – in this article should be interpreted as Indonesians who married to foreigners from different races and / or citizenships but both of them have same religion—sounds not an unusual matter in Indonesia, as in the last 2 years infotainment in TV reported some of Indonesian actress married to foreigners and sometime we meet our relatives or colleagues who experienced this, or maybe you found it happen in your own family, just like me, I have 2 brother-in-law from different countries (that’s why sometime my friends’ make fun of me as a united nations family, so all I have to do simply find a future husband from any foreign country, what a joke)
That trend –if I may use this terminology from the infotainment TV Program— of mixed marriage has inspired a local publisher company to make a book –akin of story telling like a “chicken soup for the soul” or “chocolate for women” book— talking about this issue. No intention to make a hard-to-be-understood-book, the publisher then invites some Indonesian women whom have foreigners’ husbands (French, Swedish, US, Indian-decent -Singaporean, New Zealander, Bosnian) to make public their journey finding their life time partner until legally be united in a marriage. Using the title “Kisah Kasih dari Negeri pengantin –Cinta Antar Bangsa”, this book consist of story from 11 women who most of them have not background as professional writer --only one of the contributors was an editor in national daily newspaper-- the publisher then let them retell their story with their style and share it for the shake of sisterhood. This book is released on the beginning of April by Forum Lingkar Pena an affiliate of Mizan Publisher to give sincere description about mixed marriage and sharing experience from women to women.
Although the writers put in writing their story with their own style, but most of them has same plot, start in on how they meet their husband, the most waiting and touchy moment for women, time when their husband propose them –in Lien Ottman’s story we will find her husband has a very romantic way to purpose by getting down on his knee in front of hotel room’s doors, and saying “will you marry me” witnessed by some people in the aisle, the big decision to make that mixed marriage come about, the obstacle before or after marriage, the reaction of people around them when see this odd couple, the effort to adapt to their family, culture, custom, language, how to get used living aboard, the legal consequent of mixed marriage and advice how to keep the marriage run smoothly undermine that their come from different cultural background. As most romance book or movies always say that if the time comes, even though we hide behind a big stone, love will find away, despite of the fact they live miles miles away from their future husbands and separated by oceans, but then God make they meet each other, and thanks for technology, by it help some of them meet after chatting or in internet match maker site, although the other meet their husband by a traditional matchmaker or run into in college or in work place.
Talking about most Indonesian judgment on their husbands, they not forget to share their experience in this book, given that most of local people around them think that every expatriates or foreigners, especially white men –here we called it “bule”—are rich. Some of the writer should encounter this disgusting treatment from Indonesian civil servant when they apply to get legal paper for marriage and they have to dig their pocket deeply and pay more expensive merely because their husband are white men! This fact is retold by Lien when she had to pay 10 times than the normal fee, the government officer than easily and innocently said that “Well, Teteh, you married to bule that amount Rupiahs is nothing compare to your future husband’s income”.
As many Indonesians sometime wonder and ask them “why must married to bule or foreign men?” The contributors of this book answer that they never imagined will meet foreigners as their life partner, since they believe soul mate is part of God’s plan so as human, they just follow God’s plan. Is it true western guys are more romantic than local guys? From this book we know that not every white men are romantic, Harwati Lindsten who met his husband in her campus said that her husband even never give rose or any flower to her like she watched before in Hollywood movie. But maybe the different is their husbands think that domestic work in house not only wives’ responsibility so they are willing to share those jobs and help their wives, even sometime at weekend they spoil their wives by cooking for lunch or dinner.
While trying to give advice to the readers the writers suggest Indonesian women who have plan to married to foreigners to take notice to legal matter prior to their marriage. It is not about love only in mixed marriage, since they are more than one legal system here, particularly should aware of applicable civil law, marriage law and immigration law from both countries. According to Indonesian Citizenship Law, a kid who was born from mixed married automatically has his/ her father’s citizen and Indonesian forbid double citizenship. As written in Carnelian Muhammad story, “when I gave birth in Jakarta I forget to register it in Civil Registration Office. When I want to go back to Singapore with my 3-months-old-baby, I have to pay USD 18 per day to get his visa otherwise this little-innocent-baby will be deported”. The other writer suggested making Pre marriage Agreement to protect Property/ land Ownership under Indonesian Agrarian Law.
At the end we know that as any marriage, whether we married to local persons or foreigners, effective communication, the will to respect and understand each other are the key to maintain love keep exist and grow. http://www.friendster.com/profiles/qipus