Ensuring the Benefit of Globalization and One Asia Community Movement for Indonesia: The Role of Integrative Multicultural Education

*This paper made is to fulfill the final assignment of Asian Community Lecture with theme “Asian Community and Its Development in Globalization” in Fakultas Ilmu Budaya UGM, 21 October 2013- 20 January 2014. I am a student of Program Magister Psikologi, Fakultas Psikologi UGM with major in educational psychology. Email: aftina.nurul.h@ugm.ac.id/ aftinanurulhusna@yahoo.co.id.

First thing first…

Makalah ini dibuat sebagai tugas akhir dalam seri kuliah komunitas Asia yang tempo hari saya ceritakan dalam tulisan saya sebelumnya. Sebenarnya makalah-makalah para mahasiswa peserta kuliah semacam dikompetisikan untuk dicari “the best 20 students” dan akhirnya menerima beasiswa dari One Asia Foundation. Saya tidak termasuk dalam kedua puluh mahasiswa tersebut. Itu bukan masalah besar, tetapi tetap saja itu adalah masalah bagi saya. Persoalannya adalah saya tidak mendapatkan evaluasi atas tulisan saya sehingga saya tidak tahu seberapa jauh kemampuan saya memahami masalah, merumuskan ide, dan sebagainya.

Mempublikasikan makalah di blog ini, saya berharap ada orang yang bisa membacanya dan membantu saya mendapatkan apa yang tidak dapat saya peroleh itu: evaluasi. Saya ingin bisa memperbaikinya karena saya sangat menghargai karya saya saat ini sebagai tulisan pertama yang saya buat melampaui psikologi yang menjadi bidang ilmu utama saya. Terima kasih bagi kalian yang membacanya ^^

This paper is made as final assignment for Asian community lecture series that I told before in my previous post. In the end of the lecture, the best 20 students’ paper are chosen and rewarded by One Asia Foundation. And, I am not included. ^^ It’s not a big problem, but still it is a problem. I don’t receive any evaluation so I don’t know which parts that need some improvement are, how good my ability in understanding problem, representing my idea, etc.

I publish my paper in this blog with a hope there will be people who read and evaluate it. I really appreciate that, big thanks for you all!



Aftina Nurul Husna[2]


Writing this is not easy for me. I came to the lecture with no prior knowledge about Asian Community Movement and just a little knowledge about globalization and the global issues following it. What I know before, globalization is just a theoretical issue discussed in one of my class some years ago. I don’t really experience it as a problem since I really enjoy one its remarkable and undeniable impact: knowledge sharing. I, living in Indonesia, am able to know what is happen in America, what is found in Europe, and what is popular in Japan, Korea or any other country. What is spreading across the globe is astonishing, inspiring.

I then join the lecture, listen, and take some note. It is still remain a theory since everything is a classroom-based activity. But, one thing changed: its comprehensiveness. I began to understand globalization from multi-perspective stand points even though it is still mainly viewed from cultural, anthropological and historical perspective. I wish to know more about how globalization affects our social life, psychological dynamic, economic, education and political policies, science and technology development, etc. But, it’s fairly enough for now. I understand the aspiration behind the lecture and the road I should take to protect Indonesians’ dream.

Globalization brings many changes that are not always good. It contains some flaws that deserve more attention and anticipation for everyone who cares for his/her nation and its future. Economically, free trade is possibly become a trap if we are succeed of becoming dependent to other countries instead of being strong competitive, productive, innovative, and creative country. Politically, being weak country without bargaining position just makes us puppet of other stronger country. Culturally, cultural waves from dominant countries will wash away our true identity and our original and indigenous culture. Is it still long way to go to achieve our true potential? I do not think so if we know how to manage ourselves and do some manipulation to lead people of Indonesia to the right direction.

Education is a powerful tool to shape people and to invest good and valuable characters, attitudes, and behaviors. In the era where cultural contact among nations is inevitable, education should be the first method to prepare people by teaching what is necessary and beneficial to live well “as Indonesian”. We have an alternative: multicultural education that is mainly aimed to manage diversity and differences. Actually, its initial application is used to solve social conflict caused by racial, ethnical or religious differences and to maintain harmony within a country (DomNwachukwu, 2010; Hanum, 2009; Mitchell & Salsbury, 1999; Supartiningsih, 2007). But, for advanced necessity, it can be used to foster Indonesians’ character and behavior by providing international and intercultural dialogue or class in schools, academies, and universities in Indonesia. The purpose is to critically examine and take lessons from other countries’ culture.

This idea comes from my contemplation observing how Indonesian people are so amazed and influenced by people from developed countries like Japan, South Korean, or any Western countries because of their remarkable achievement and contribution to the world. But, how ironic is that Indonesians are also complaining themselves as being incompetent, great imitator, having no creativity, and behaving badly, indiscipline, lazy, etc. Some motivators and teachers sometime ask his/her audiences and students to take lesson and model those countries. That’s true. So, why do not we integrate that take-lesson activity into our national education system and policy? I assume it will be a very interesting multicultural education for students who spend their life liking and admiring Japan or United States. But, that is not the only thing. To have a proper and balanced view, we also integrate our own cultural values into it. So, the multicultural discourses will get its optimal benefit for the development of the youth.

Integrative Multicultural Education

Honestly, I never find the term “integrative multicultural education” in any educational psychology books, social psychological books concerning human cultural diversity, or literatures in education and teaching method. It is perhaps my carelessness not reading many important literatures, or it is indeed a new idea in the field. So, its conceptualization primarily is based on my imagination and thus, it is opened to critics and suggestions for further real reliable application.

We know already what multicultural education, multiculturalism, and culture are. According to Mitchell and Salsbury in the Encyclopedia of Multicultural Education (1999), culture is patterns for survival. It is about the way people create to fulfill their needs. That way is shared and spread among them. It consists of material objects, artifacts, customs, beliefs, etc. In its development, there are two kinds of culture, namely macro-culture and micro-culture. Macro-culture refers to the large and dominant culture and micro-culture consists of smaller group of people with similar language pattern, value, feeling, mores, music, literature, art, religion, etc. In my understanding, every nation-country has those macro and micro-culture. Indonesia is the perfect example of this. The culture of Indonesia is the culmination of many local cultures.

Multiculturalism is belief and value system on which diversity plays eminent roles. Multiculturalism is a name given to beliefs or ideals that promote recognition, appreciation, celebration, and preservation of social differences. People who agree on multiculturalism will value the preservation of different voice and tradition that constitute a community and nation (Blaine, 2009). That ideal is what lies behind the construction of multicultural education. Multicultural education is a process or educational strategies that involve more than one culture as defined by national, linguistic, ethnic, or racial criteria (Nagai, in DomNwachukwu, 2010). Multicultural education is education about cultural diversity (Supartiningsih, 2007), but it does stop there. It goes beyond the cognitive dimension of education. It also teachs attitudes and behaviors needed to live harmoniously in diverse society including ability to understand, respect, and appreciate the existence of every group of people in society (Dantes, Pengembangan Kurikulum Berwawasan Multikultural).

In my opinion, those definition and operationalization are still focused on conflict resolution and social harmony maintenance effort. Those are true since Indonesia has been suffering long social conflict for years. But, it is still opened to any other purpose, especially in this globalization era. Multicultural education is not only about intra-nation cultural diversity, but also inter-nation cultural diversity. Its activity is not only to accept, appreciate, and respect the diversity and differences, but also to discern them, to critically identify their good and bad aspects, to carefully compare and take every lesson from itu, and to see the probability to use that knowledge to improve our behavior. It may contain some risks, but the aim of this kind of education is not to escalate that risk into new conflicts. It is to learn in more critical, formal, systematic, and integrated ways according to Indonesia national education purposes and its national philosophy, Pancasila.

Some questions may rise following the idea above. One that I aware most is: how will this integrative multicultural education work? This is my answer:

Cultural imperialism is one worst scenario of globalization for developing countries, including Indonesia (Nurudin, 2010; Subekti, 2013). It is a total destruction of indigenous culture of a country. The cause is so simple: the cultural domination of the strong country and the amazement of the weaker one that lead to the complete imitation of the dominant culture (e.g. life styles, beliefs, thoughts, etc.). The worst may not happen in reality, but the worse one is possible through what I personally called “blind” acculturation.

In modern definition, acculturation is a complex two-directional and bi-dimensional process (Nguyen & Benet-Martínez, 2010). This model of acculturation is based on a premise that individual who experiencing acculturation must face one main problem about two cultural orientation: 1) to what extent he/she is motivated or allowed to preserve identification and involvement with his/her original culture and 2) to what extent he/she is motivated or allowed to identify and involve in dominant mainstream culture or foreign culture. From four possibilities of acculturation (being assimilated, integrated, separated, or marginalized), being integrated which means able to participate and identify self to the both culture, is considered as the most ideal way to acculturate. The multicultural society it formed is considered the most ideal too because it brings more advantages than three other types of acculturation. It promotes better social and psychological adjustment and help people to overcome sociocultural challenges in a diverse society and in this globalization era in which people from many countries meet and interact each other.

The theory above is admittedly debatable, and I am one of its debaters. A person’s preference is influenced by his/her personal value, interest, motive, desire, dream, and ambition. To let people freely do whatever they like is a rather unwise in a country that already has a vision for its future. To let people live with or integrate themselves to any culture they like is a rather unwise too in country that already has its valuable culture. That country has the right and duty to make its people cherishing and treasuring their own culture. Even though the cultural interaction between countries is inevitable, a country must not sacrifice itself by letting its people admiring other country culture whilst forgetting their own valuable culture. While coercive method is forbidden, the most persuasive way is through intellectual, scientific, and rational discussion or dialogue under the guidance of national philosophy and vision. That is the main point of integrative multicultural education: to make people learn and judge the appropriateness of their own and others cultural behaviors; to not take for granted everything that comes to us.

Cultural Paradox: A Simple Case Study

I found this thread in http://www.kaskus.co.id and titled “12 Perilaku yang Membedakan Sifat Orang Indonesia dan Jepang” (12 Behaviors that Differ Trait of Indonesian and Japanese). It may be shameful, but worthy to study. It may seem like a sarcastic joke, but still it is a meaningful social phenomenon. I keep this short post in Indonesian language for practical reason.

12 Perilaku yang Membedakan Sifat Orang Indonesia dan Jepang

1. Ketika di kendaraan umum:

Jepang: Orang2 pada baca buku atau tidur.

Indonesia: Orang2 pada ngobrol, ngegosip, ketawa-ketiwi cekikikan, ngelamun, dan tidur.

2. Ketika makan dikendaraan umum:

Jepang: Sampah sisa makanan disimpan ke dalam saku celana atau dimasukkan ke dalam tas, kemudian baru dibuang setelah nemu tong sampah.

Indonesia: Dengan wajah tanpa dosa, sampah sisa makanan dibuang gitu aja di kolong bangku/dilempar ke luar jendela.

3. Ketika dikelas:

Jepang: Yang kosong adalah bangku kuliah paling belakang.

Indonesia: Yang kosong adalah bangku kuliah paling depan.

4. Ketika dosen memberikan kuliah:

Jepang: Semua mahasiswa sunyi senyap mendengarkan dengan serius.

Indonesia: Tengok ke kiri, ada yg ngobrol. Tengok ke kanan, ada yg baca komik. Tengok ke belakang, pada tidur. Cuman barisan depan aja yg anteng dengerin, itu pun karena duduk pas di depan hidung dosen!

5. Ketika diberi tugas oleh dosen:

Jepang: Hari itu juga, siang/malemnya langsung nyerbu perpustakaan atau browsing internet buat cari data.

Indonesia: Kalau masih ada hari esok, ngapain dikerjain hari ini!

6. Ketika terlambat masuk kelas:

Jepang: Memohon maaf sambil membungkukkan badan 90 derajat, dan menunjukkan ekspresi malu + menyesal gak akan mengulangi lagi.

Indonesia: Slonong boy & slonong girl masuk gitu aja tanpa bilang permisi ke dosen sama sekali.

7. Ketika dijalan raya:

Jepang: Mobil sangat jarang (kecuali di kota besar). Padahal jepang kan negara produsen mobil terbesar di dunia, mobilnya pada ke mana ya?

Indonesia: Jalanan macet, sampe2 saya susah nyebrang & sering keserempet motor yg jalannya ugal-ugalan.

8. Ketika jam kantor:

Jepang: Jalanan sepiiiii banget, kayak kota mati.

Indonesia: Ada Oknum pake seragam coklat2 pada keluyuran di mall-mall.

9. Ketika buang sampah:

Jepang: Sampah dibuang sesuai jenisnya. Sampah organik dibuang di tempat sampah khusus organik, sampah anorganik dibuang di tempat sampah anorganik.

Indonesia: Mau organik kek, anorganik kek, bangke binatang kek, semuanya tumplek jadi 1 dalam kantong kresek.

10. Ketika berangkat kantor:

Jepang: Berangkat naik kereta/bus kota. Mobil cuma dipake saat acara keluarga atau yg bersifat mendesak aja.

Indonesia: Gengsi dooonk… Masa’ naik angkot?!

11. Ketika janjian ketemu:

Jepang: Ting…tong…semuanya datang tepat pada jam yg disepakati.

Indonesia: Salah 1 pihak pasti ada dibiarkan sampai berjamur & berkerak gara2 kelamaan nunggu!

12. Ketika berjalan dipagi hari:

Jepang: Orang2 pada jalan super cepat kayak dikejar doggy, karena khawatir telat ke kantor/sekolah.

Indonesia: Nyantai aja cing…! Si boss juga paling datengnya telat!

Source: http://www.kaskus.co.id/thread/000000000000000016658488/12-perilaku-yang-membedakan-sifat-orang-indonesia-dan-jepang (Accessed: December 29, 2013)

That thread is not popular since only view people responding it. One reader responded it by posting a “counter-attack” favoring Indonesia. Another reader just simply said, “Yeah, we adopt the positive (behavior of Japanese). If it is good, we may adapt it. Our people are not always bad. Di mana bumi dipijak, di situ langit dijunjung (an Indonesian proverb that means wherever we live, we have to respect or obey its culture, customs, rule, norms, etc.). But indeed, 12 behaviors above makes Japanese looks superior. It is evaluation for us.”

It is one example. In the internet there are many articles with similar topic indicating that some of Indonesian people informally compare and learn something. But, self-evaluation that comes after reading just ends as common individual opinions. Most of those articles are just joke or merely informational article, not inspirational, motivating, or elevating knowledge. It is a waste. In wrong and careless hands, good tools are surely become useless. But, for social scientist, academicians, educators, motivators, or government who understand the potential of this comparative knowledge, the story may turn to be different. Employing Japanese positive culture popularity, for example, we can educate people to behave more accordingly. Also, with the same method, by carefully sharing the knowledge about their negative behavior, we can educate people to be proud, to love and implement our own cultural behavior that Japanese is lacking.

I think, through this kind of education, cultural contact and interaction can be more meaningful and beneficial to our country, Indonesia. It is not only for Indonesia, it may also be useful for countries that suffer the same crisis and dilemma regarding to globalization and its negative impact to national culture. Multicultural education should be more integrative for every positive thing in one hand and critical for everything that may be harmful to the nation in the other hand.


I understand that this idea is still so raw, but the spirit behind it, I don’t think that it is weak. For the first time, I know the feeling of being loyal to Indonesia, to its people. Being united to other countries in Asia is a good thing, but Indonesia should never sacrifice its people and its future. Indonesia has dreams for its own, besides dreams for international peace and order.

The lecturers in Asian Community Class, most of them are already old and wise. They know better about the opportunities and treats of globalization and teach me well. From historical perspective, globalization is an ordinary and old thing (Sulistyono, 2013). Once upon a time, people in Nusantara were an important player of globalization. They were skilled and tough. “Indonesia” was part of global significant power. They potential were the same with what we have today: the archipelago, the sea territory, and the natural resources. Only one that changed: the humans’ characters, after being colonialized for hundred years by European. Colonialism reconstructed Indonesia in a very terrible way. Imitating Europe is undeniable following impact since the weak is naturally being dependent to those who strong.

In the face of globalization, every country must have different view toward the future. Those developed country in Europe, America, and Asia may have their own economic, political, or cultural agenda that is perhaps unfavorable for the others. For Indonesia, the sweet and bitter experience in the past should not be forgotten. History gives a very great lesson that foreign nations and its influences are not always nice. Consequently, being prudential is important along with being open and accepting. Being strong and independent is also as important as being cooperative. We can’t be so naïve.

We try to catch up other countries’ advancement. But, never throw our already-good culture and customs away. We are worthy and equal to any other country. No reason to be inferior, but we will really be inferior if we fail to improve ourselves. Integrative multicultural education is an idea to support that spirit. It is still just an idea, but worthy to be tested scientifically. The aim is clear. By studying the positive and negative behavior of other nation’s culture, we can gain meaningful knowledge to improve our own nation. I set a premise that one culture is complement for other culture. So, learn as many things as possible from them and use it to strengthen our selves. If we do so, globalization and having friends from all over the world will actually be a gift from heaven.


Blaine, B. E. 2009. Understanding the Psychology of Diversity. Thousand Oak, CA: SAGE Publications.

Dantes, N. _____. Pengembangan Kurikulum Berwawasan Multikultural. Diakses dari: http://pasca.undiksha.ac.id/e-learning/staff/images/img_info/6/20-494.pdf.

DomNwachukwu, C. S. 2010. An Introduction to Multicultural Education. From Theory to Practice. Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.

Hanum, F. 2009. Pendidikan Multikultural sebagai Sarana Membentuk Karakter Bangsa (dalam Perspektif Sosiologi Pendidikan). Makalah dalam Seminar Regional DIY-Jateng yang diselenggarakan oleh Himpunan Mahasiswa Pendidikan Sosiologi, UNY pada 14 Desember 2009. Diakses dari: http://staff.uny.ac.id/sites/default/files/ pengabdian/farida-hanum-msi-dr/pend-multikultural-sebagai-pembentuk-karakter-bangsa-2010.pdf.

Mitchell, B. M. & Salsbury, R. E. 1999. Encyclopedia of Multicultural Education. Westport, CT: Greewood Press.

Nguyen, A. D. & Benet-Martínex, V. 2010. Multicultural Identity: What It Is and Why It Matters. Dalam R. J. Crisp (Ed.). The Psychology of Social and Cultural Identity. West Sussex: Wiley-Brackwell.

Nurudin. 2010. Teori Imperialisme Budaya (Cultural Imperialism Theory). Diakses dari: http:// nurudin.staff.umm.ac.id/wp-content/plugins/as-pdf/generate.php?post=99.

Subekti, S. 2013. Pemaknaan Humanisme Pancasila dalam Rangka Penguatan Karakter Bangsa Menghadapi Globalisasi. Humanika. Diakses dari: http://www.ejournal.undip. ac.id/index.php/humanika/article/viewFile/5316/4777.

Sulistyono, S. T. 2013. National Interest, Globalization, and Regionalization: Dilemma of Indonesia. Lecturing material in “The Lecturer Series and International Seminar on Asian Community and Its Development in Globalization”, FIB UGM, 28 Oktober 2013.

Supartiningsih. 2007. Etika Diskursus bagi Masyarakat Multikultural: Sebuah Analisis dalam Perspektif Pemikiran Jürgen Habermas. Jurnal Filsafat. Vol. 17, No. 1, April 2007, h. 32-59.

[1] This paper made is to fulfill the final assignment of Asian Community Lecture with theme “Asian Community and Its Development in Globalization” in Fakultas Ilmu Budaya UGM, 21 October 2013- 20 January 2014.

[2] Student of Program Magister Psikologi, Fakultas Psikologi UGM with major in educational psychology. Email: aftina.nurul.h@ugm.ac.id

3 thoughts on “Ensuring the Benefit of Globalization and One Asia Community Movement for Indonesia: The Role of Integrative Multicultural Education

  1. I almost never leave a response, however i did some searching and wound up here Ensuring the Benefit of Globalization and One Asia Community Movement for Indonesia: The Role of Integrative Multicultural Education | I love life,
    life loves me.. And I do have a couple of questions
    for you if it’s allright. Is it just me or does it look
    as if like a few of the remarks appear like left by brain dead individuals?
    😛 And, if you are writing at other places, I’d like to follow everything new you have to post.
    Would you list of all of your community sites like your Facebook
    page, twitter feed, or linkedin profile?

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