I used to hate being criticized. Heck, who does? Even if the criticism wasn’t adress personally to me, let’s say to my country from somebody abroad (Indonesians or foreigners), my first reaction would be, “Well, your country is bad too!”, stomped my foot, pout, and cross my hands against my chest; instead of acknowledging the facts and accepted it.
It took a question like this to made me stop and think, “Why are [some]Indonesians so sensitive (and couldn’t take criticism)? Is it because you guys were oppressed too long under Suharto?” I do remember, back then, if you dare criticize him or his family or even somebody in his cabinet, either you’d vanish from the surface of the earth or some other consequences with the same level of threat. So yeah… probably our skin got too thin to be criticized.
Having moved to a different country with more openness, which in this case happens to be United States (yeah… yeah… I could hear those cynicals saying, “Sure… praise the US… hate your country… etc etc”), I was ‘forced’ to adapt better to criticism. My face still got red, but I don’t stomp my foot and pout anymore. I mean, if somebody told me I made a mistake or point out my weakness, that would mean that person does care and it’s for my own betterment.
It saddens me to see how unacceptable some people back home are to criticisms. I made a comment on a friend’s status in Facebook -“… nggak heran Indonesia dilabeli ‘negara teroris’ or ‘no wonder Indonesia is labeled as terrorist country…”- which had turned into a circle of stomping foot and pouting. From that short statement only, one could understand that was not the one that come up out of nowhere and be the first to call her that. It was an observation. Instead of seeing it as a healthy way of looking at problems, they foresee the criticism as mengorek luka lama or to pick on old wounds.
It is a fact that Indonesia is being called by the international media as a terrorist country. It is hurtful to me too. So what? Somebody started to bombarded me with, “Do you know that the country you live in has this and that not to mention this and that [and the list goes on].” Yeah… again… so what? The US does have terrorism too. It’s a public knowledge. Is it really that taboo to mention something that’s a public knowledge to Indonesians? These guys got so angry, sensitive like PMS women and started calling me names. ‘Pathetic‘ was among ‘the bitch who forgot about her home country’.
Is it because it’s a very delicate mater, religious, or more spesifically, Islam? Ayaan Hirsi Ali in her book ‘Infidel: My Life’ is right then, the major problem with Islam and its followers is THEY DON’T THINK THERE IS A PROBLEM. I was going to quote the famous Ms. Rima Fauzi, but I couldn’t search that particular post in her website. Similar post written by Fitri Mohan is here.
A wise man once said to me, “If you can’t take criticism, go live in a cave. Or better yet, grow a thicker skin!”