Indonesia Banget 18: Floor Sitter

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Here we are in another edition of Indonesia Banget, where I shared about life in Indonesia.

I have noticed, from movies, that European had sat on chair since loooong time ago…but most Asian remained sitting on the floor even until this very moment. I am here not to talk about Asia, I will focus it on Indonesia.

I am going to exclude the really rich people here because most of them think that floor is too dirty to be sat on. The commoners (the one who aren’t too rich and, of course, the poor) are still sitting on the floor even though they already have chairs in their house. Chairs are clean and comfortable but floor gives freedom to sit in whatever position we like.

People sit on the floor in many ways, they can use nothing because they believe their floor is clean or they use carpet or tikar. Tikar is kind of like carpet but made of either bamboo or plastic. You can see the photo of my niece and nephew sitting on a plastic tikar >>
Most Indonesian used this kind of tikar. I once saw a VOA channel about a shop which sale tikar in USA, and that tikar is bloody expensive…here it is very cheap.

When we have special occasion, like family gathering, instead of preparing a lot of chairs we prefer to provide carpet and tikar for the guess to sit on.

In this photo below, these people had just finished working together. They helped the house owner to tidy up things after my brother’s weeding. The owner of that place is my sister in law’s father. As you can see, they were all sitting on the floor while eating their lunch. No one felt disgust with the state on the soil underneath them, a tikar is all they need to sit on. Imagine how many chairs to prepare to this large number of crowd? (this photo only showed 1/3 of all the people who were coming to help).

If the floor is really clean…well clean enough…no one mind to sit on eat while eating their food. The photo below showed my students who were enjoying their dinner. For event with large number of people, we often used box-food…kinda like Japanese bento.

Here they are again enjoying performance from their friends….and as you can see, they are still sitting on the floor.

Some even don’t mind sleeping or lying on their stomach on the floor.

Recently, I even put my computer on the floor.
I love the freedom of typing in many positions, I can put the keyboard on a small portable desk and sit upright while typing or typing while lying on my stomach on the floor. Even my turtle enjoy having the computer on the floor 😉
Photo is taken from BUSTED.

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  1. yep, here in Europe we don’t sit on the floor, but I’m not sure it has anything to do with the floor being dirty (not that it isn’t LOL) but with legs being more comfortable when sitting on a chair since you don’t pressure them. People in Turkey also love sitting on the floor, but they are Muslim and oriental too. And plus you’re in a tropical country and here it’s not pleasant lying on a cold floor 🙂

    1. I don’t think cold is the main reason Dezz, it’s more into tradition and lifestyle (like what Castor said on the comment below). I said that because Japan is a very cold country and they are still sitting on the floor till this day. As for Indonesia, yes we are tropical and sitting on the floor is not going to freeze us 😉 but when it is quite cold (of course no match to Europe coldness) we use carpet to sit on.

      I wonder who created chairs, somehow I have a feeling it was not Asian…and maybe that’s why we are sitting on the floor 😉

  2. Although most of our older people here in the US have the feelings you describe about siting on the floor, there are many of us who grew up doing much the same as you Novia.

    I have chairs and a comfy couch in my living room, but oftentimes I’ll sit on the rug next to our couch or lie on my tummy on the floor to watch TV… especially if I’m by myself or if Ting-ting wants to play with me while I do it.

    But then, I am a strange lady for an American…. 😉

    1. hahaha you are indeed a strange American…but in a good way 😉

      We, Indonesian, have been playing and do other things on the floor since todler…it comes naturally to us. I even prepare my cooking material on the floor as there is no table in the kitchen but the stove table. Squatting is just an ordinary thing to do.

      Ah yes, playing with pets is best on the floor. When I still had a cat, and now I have turtles, I enjoy teasing and playing with them on the floor.

      One question tho, why when you are alone? Carolyn doesn’t like sitting on the floor?

      1. No, not really…. she will sometimes join me to sit on the rug once in a while if we are both playing with Ting-ting or something like that, but she prefers our couch or the chair by our window… just the way she grew up doing things I guess.

        When we went camping together last year, she even wanted things to sit on too when we were in the forest… like a rock or an old log, but i was comfortable just sitting down right on the ground anywhere. Maybe because I went camping a lot as a child, that is one reason I feel comfortable to still do that even today….

        1. I see…It’s just how we brought up. Tell Carolyn I say hi 🙂

          Me too, I also sit everywhere when camping. I put a plastic on the ground and then sit on it comfortably.

  3. Interesting, I guess it’s a lifestyle choice. Those of us used to sitting in chair all day would probably find it extremely uncomfortable and painful to sit on the floor.

    1. I agree Cas. It’s a lifestyle and hard to change. Funny thing is when I am sitting on the chair, I always feel comfortable when I put my legs on the chair and sitting Budha position (I dont know what to call that position in English). It feels odd to stay sitted nicely with both legs not on the chair.

  4. I miss this, sitting on the floor and eating with my hands 🙂 I’m probably not as good with the sitting on the floor part as I’m not as flexible now that I’m old, ahah. Fun post Nov, I get quite nostalgic reading it.

  5. Great post! I don’t mind sitting on the floor for short periods of time but I don’t find it very comfortable for longer. I do it mainly when out and about (on the grass for instance).

    Indoors, I used to sit on the floor a lot with my friends in England, when we had small children. The children were on the floor, and we used to start off on the sofa and move down on the floor during the visit so we could be close to our children. Then eventually, everyone was on the floor. It was also handy when there were more people than chairs, as you say. 🙂

    1. Thank for sharing your story here, Judith.
      I guess it is safer for children to run around and play on the floor..and it is also easier for parents to look after the children while they are sitting on the floor too.

  6. Whenever you have a sticky post I miss some of your new ones and I always look forward to your Indonesia banget. Another really interesting post.
    I think another reason why we do not sit on the floor that much is the cold. At times like these in winter, it’s too cold. Not in an apartment but in a house.
    I always liked sitting on the floor but many Westerners don’t even know how to do it.

    1. Sorry for that, Caroline 🙂

      I didn’t realize that some readers could missed my posts because of the sticky ones till Castor pointed it out. I never have problem with that because I use RSS Feed.

      I can imagine how cold the floor will be in winter because it feels cold in rainy season here and I do believe the coldness level in Indonesia is nothing to Europe.

      Nice to hear that you also like sitting on the floor, don’t you just love the liberty in sitting in many position when we are on the floor?

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