Deceitful smiles - Tourism Indonesia


Sunday, November 25, 2007

Deceitful smiles

From the Jakarta Post Editorial:

Nowadays, at any rate, the smiles of Indonesian people leave foreigners, be they first-time tourists or expatriates, guessing.

The problems start for foreign tourists as soon as they arrive at the airport, just because they misinterpret the smiles of tip-hungry airport officers or mischievous taxi drivers. The tourists easily fall prey to hoteliers or souvenir hawkers who look friendly but turn out to be little more than extortionists.

The challenges facing Visit Indonesia Year 2008 may be much more onerous than Minister Jero has imagined. As an official dealing with culture, we assume that he knows it's quite easy to smile without necessarily being friendly, let alone helpful.

Smiles alone will not be enough to boost the tourism industry and other revenue-generating sectors. Foreign tourists and investors need Indonesian people who are eager and willing to help them, as quickly as possible, if necessary. They will stay longer if they feel secure, surrounded by people who are ready to lend a hand at any time it is needed. Smiles in the absence of proper service are worthless.

Foreign investors will commit to long-term involvement if both the Indonesian people and regulations are inviting and generous in terms of incentives.

Neighboring countries offer many facilities to foreigners, particularly those who want to invest, while Indonesia deliberately restricts, if not actually deters, them. This contradicts the claims that Indonesia is tolerant and open to the world.

It will require more than a tourism minister to respond to these challenges.

Earlier: Smile, it's Visit Indonesia Year


  1. Quite so. A smile should be natural, else it would devalue the meaning of the smile.

  2. actually there are many types of smiles. "Lip smilers – Smile only with their lips.

    Cheesy smilers – Smile with their teeth

    Twinkle smilers – Smile / Laugh with their dancing eyes

    Sweet smilers – Exercise their chubby cheeks

    Wry smilers – Know something you don’t

    Tee-Hee smilers – Smile with their necks

    Body smilers – Smile wholeheartedly with their whole body

    And of course you’ve seen the fake, contrived smiles of forced geniality.

    Hearty Laughter – All heart

    Belly laughter – Body, belly and heart

    Seal Laughter – Barking, high pitch, like a seal

    We have a burst of laughter, horse laugh, laughing up one’s sleeve (a secret somewhere), laughing one’s head off." (from


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