Excellent article about growing up as a mixed kid in Indonesia

Helpful Herbert

Well-Known Member
Mar 24, 2019

Since this community is surely growing, not only in Bali but elsewhere, this is a really good article showing the practical issues involved, such as:

  • Indonesians see them as foreigners, but their "other" country sees them as Indonesians (or Asians)
  • slightly shocked that one private school teacher told the class that pure Indonesians are better than mixed kids
  • life was easier outside school than inside the school
  • they are at the age of being forced to give up one passport, which is a difficult decision
  • they feel Indonesia is home, more than their Western country
  • in their Western country they initially struggled because they didn't understand the culture so well

It doesn't mention language, it would have been interesting to know what language they speak to friends (I guess English) and how good their Indonesian is.
A follow up article about the 100% Indonesians growing up in English-speaking international schools would also be interesting, and how that affects their interactions with other Indonesians. There was one such article in the Jakarta Post a few years back.


Jul 13, 2016
Interesting to see the current perspective. I think in some ways it was easier during my time. I was the only mixed-race kid throughout SD and SMP, so there was no clique to belong to. No international school, so all communication was in Indonesian.

Kids are inherently not racist, and after a few awkward moments mostly due to curiosity, I was accepted as the same as everyone almost immediately. There were some preconceptions, for example, most of my friends think my family is rich, which relatively speaking is true.

SMA had maybe 2 other mixed kids out of maybe 800 students. Again, same experience.

I have never lived in the country of my nationality and felt very little connection to it. When the question of "Where are you from?" comes up outside of Indonesia, I always say that I am Indonesian.


Well-Known Member
Charter Member
Jul 19, 2016
I wonder if the experience is different in Jakarta than in Bali. My kids (Grade 11 & 8 at the moment) have always attended international-curriculum schools, but they have never expressed such difficulties. Maybe it is because they have large-is friend groups who all feel more comfortable speaking English rather than BI. That said, both are eager to move to the US for college (even though the media and certain family members make it sound like my kids will need body armor to go to school there).

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