Marisa W. Christyanti – Indonesia is a country with more than 300 tribes and 700 local languages


I spoke with some important people from goverment of Indonesia and they asked me: “Why don’t you write something about Indonesia? We will pay you a lot if you say that Indonesia is better summer destination than Croatia.”

”I like my country, but not as much as money” Did I say that or someone from Croatian parlament?

I have contacted the Embassy of Indonesia in Zagreb and arranged for an interview with Marisa W. Christyanti (Second Secretary, Media, Social and Cultural Affairs) at “NA DOLCU” restaurant.

Na Dolcu – Dear Leader Joe and Marisa W. Christyanti

When did You come to Zagreb and was this your sentence or did you ask to come to the capital of Croatia? Where did you work before? Why Zagreb? Por que? 

I arrived in the mid of February 2017. I didn’t ask specifically for this country but I did mentioned the region since I was working in the desk of Central Europe when in the Ministry. Kind of wanted to know how is this region look like.

You’ve said that Indonesians and Croatians are similar – drinking coffe all day:) Can you compare life here and there (minimum wage, life cost, people, food…). 

The only thing for sure is that your money worth so much more in Indonesia than here. That means minimum wage is also lower in Indonesia.
The character of the people is different since we live in tropical country therefore, we are more expressive with our thoughts and emotions, in which also expressed in our culture and food. You can expect for a wide variations of food from the savoury to sweet and umami taste, spicy to light and simple.

Indonesia is a tourist-oriented country like Croatia but your tourist season lasts the entire year even when it’s rainy season. What’s your secret and except Balie, what places would you recommend us to visit there? 

In the number of foreign tourist visit, Indonesia is still behind Croatia, and we don’t have infrastructure that connects every part of our country as good as Croatia.
I don’t think that there is a secret about it, but when you visit Indonesia you can expect a trip with diverse of experience, from white sandy beach to snow cape mountain, from luxury gateway to adventurous holiday such as staying among the Orangutan and wild animals in the middle of Kalimantan jungle.
On top of that Indonesia is a country with more than 300 tribes and 700 local languages, so basically even I as Indonesian, I am a foreigner in my own country when I go to places where I don’t speak the local language. But thank God there is Indonesian language!

Indonesia is a multicultural country but majority of your population are Muslims. Do they have problems when they see so many tourists in your country that are not living by their belives or are they tolerant like 10% of Croatians:)? 

Indonesia is currently the biggest Muslim population country in the world with more than 87% believers from more than 260 million population. However, the majority of the believers practice moderate Islam, meaning that they respect other people’s faith and on how they want to conduct their lives. But, off course there are traditions and cultures that as foreigner who visits the country you want to follow to show your respect to your host.

Economy: What does Indonesia export to Croatia and what do you import from us? Is it hard for someone from Croatia to buy property in your country and open a business there? For example if I would like to be a Gigolo in Indonesia, would I have problems with birocracy?

The main Indonesia export to Croatia are pulp and paper products, electronics, clothes and plastic. While Croatia export to Indonesia are vehicles spare parts, guns and some wood products.
If you want to open a business in Indonesia the regulation is quite simple and can be done within days.

You have Indonesian language school and music school at your embassy where you teach people how to play Indonesian drums. Is it hard to learn Indonesian lanuage or it’s easy like Croatian:)? 

If you say Croatian language is easy then Indonesian language is super easy! People will easily understand you even when you just say one or two words.

PS: Have you ever seen someone as talented as me on your drums? PS2: How would you say in Indonesian: ”I’m not expensive, you are poor!”?

From all the people that I have seen playing the instrument, you are the best one. You played as if you want to smash down the instrument

Indonesian Embassy – Zagreb – Dear Leader Joe aka Indonesian drummer

”I’m not expensive, you are poor!” – In Indonesian language it will be: “Saya tidak mahal, kamu yang miskin!”

How many Indonesians lives in Zagreb? Do you have a secret society, spies like 007, maybe some super heros like Indonesian Batman?

Outside of the Embassy’s staffs and their family it will be less than 10 people in Zagreb, and less than 30 in Croatia.
Off course we have our own secret society since other people who join it will not be able to understand what we are talking about! Indonesian Batman??? Haha… No:)

PS: I have some super skills but you can not tell this to anyone. I’m famous Indonesian Super Hero and Fortune Teller:)

Na Dolcu – Marisa W. Christyanti – Indonesian Super Hero
Photo: Dear Leader Joe,
Na Dolcu – Marisa W. Christyanti – Indonesian Fortune Teller
Photo: Dear Leader Joe,

I don’t know anything about Indonesian culture. Do you maybe organize Indonesian concerts in Zagreb, food or movie festivals, fortune teller nights…? Recommend me an Indonesian movie, a book, a band… 

Our Embassy regularly hold cultural events for public, but I don’t know why Croatians seem don’t know it. Maybe we are just too exotic or too far away.
We have dance performance, classical music performance, exhibitions, film screening, workshops, etc.
Since I don’t know what genre you like, I would probably suggest you to watch “Cek Toko Sebelah” (Check out the shop next door) which is a comedy-drama film about the continuation of a family grocery store. And for music you can check out a band called “Nidji” which has rock- pop alternative genre.

Do you have hipsters in Indonesia and are they also alergic on gluten?

I think you can find hipster in most countries now, and in Indonesia the number is growing especially millennials who live in big cities. There are more and more hipster clothing stores, coffee shops, and café.
Talking about gluten intolerance, there are plenty of Indonesian dishes that are free from it as the staple food are mainly rice, cassava, corn, sweet potato or sago.


Na Dolcu
Photo: Dear Leader Joe,

3 most popular Indonesian names, meals and drinks?  PS: Give me one Indonesian name that fits me:)

Names: Dian, Dwi, Agus
Food: Nasi Goreng (Fried rice), Rendang (spicy meat dish with coconut), Sate (chicken/meat skewer with peanut sauce)
Drinks: Es Teh (ice tea), Es Jeruk (orange juice with ice), Kelapa Muda (young coconut)

Name for you: Hadi

Is this interview for the peak of your diplomatic career? If it is not, feel free to lie that it is.
I like to consider it as a peak of the hill in my career.

Most important question in Croatia for the end – Where were you in 1991?

I must be in the first or second grade.

Author: Josip Novosel, Gastro Snob and self proclaimed Dear Leader Joe, a corresponding member of the “Take me to Balie, Croatia is for the poor people” magazine, a friend to the wealthy, a tycoon and a snob but above all a human.