Culture refers to behaviors and beliefs system of a particular society; it is the belief system and characteristic of a specific social group or ethic group (Clyne, 2003). Culture is an important aspect that reflects stages of civilization in a given community. This paper will compare and contrast the Australian and Indonesian culture to have a broader understanding of these two cultures.
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The Australian culture is a western culture that has been influenced by the neighboring Islands such as Aboriginal and Torres Strait (Clancy, 2004). The Australian culture comprises of the multi-ethnic groups because of the migrant who came to Australia during colonization (Clancy, 2004).
On the other hand, Indonesia is one of the countries with the largest population in the world and it has over two hundred ethnic groups who use different languages (Liddle, 1996). The Indonesian culture is much similar to that of India. As a country, Indonesia is divided into islands with different people who speak different ethnic languages.
Language is an important aspect of culture. Majorly, the culture of Australia is predominance with English language because of the fact that Australia was colonized by British (Charles Sturt University, 2001). As such, Australia is a monolingual community and English dialect form the national language.
However, people of Australia have a distinctive accent which is slightly different from the British English. But foreigners are also found in Australia and this means that there are some traces of other languages including Chinese, Italian, and Greek (Charles Sturt University, 2001).
Australia has also a sign language for the deaf people known as Auslan, which is used by over five thousand Australians nationalities (Clancy, 2004). On the other hand, almost all of the Indonesian languages are believed to have emerged from subgroups of the Austronesia family and most of the subgroups are similar because they have local dialects.
Bahasa is the national language of Indonesia although people still use other local languages (Forshee, 2006). For this reason, Bahasa is used in courts, schools, hospitals, and government offices for official communication. However, the youths have developed slang that they use regularly (Forshee, 2006). Different ethnic groups live in specific places where most of the people share cultural practices and language.
Art is also another important aspect of culture. There are numerous categories of arts that are common in Australia and many artists have earned international recognition today. According to Charles Sturt University (2001) film, music, painting and theatre portrays the unique culture of the Australian people and they are mostly performed by the indigenous Australians. In fact, in Sidney city, there are numerous institutions that promote and train Australians about their culture.
In this city people are trained dancing styles, film, and music. Additionally, Melbourne city also promotes traditional arts and it has the largest music scene in the world today. Generally, the culture of Australia promotes music, film, theatre, and literature which are also found in Indonesia (Charles Sturt University, 2001).
In Indonesia, art has been used to promote tradition cultures through institutions and schools that teach music, painting stone carving and performing arts among others (Forshee, 2006). Both cultures are almost similar in areas of art but tie and dye, stone carving and batik is very popular in Indonesia (Forshee, 2006).
Literature is also another characteristic of culture. Literature is popular in Australia and Australian writers have acquired international recognition in world today because of their outstanding work. Through literature, many writers have addressed issues of gender equality, wars, social issues, and patriotism among others. On the other hand, literature has also described the lifestyle of the Australian people including the changing culture. English language is mostly used in the Australian literature.
Due to the fact that, literature is popular in this state, many Australian writers have also earned international rewards and other recognition. However, the Indonesian literature is quite different from the Australians culture. Notably, the Indonesian literature has existed for centuries and it mainly comprises of bamboo, old palm, and fiber manuscripts used by educated people from various regions of the country such as Rejang and Batak (Richard, 2003).
In the past, Indonesian literature was published in local languages, but now this form of culture is expressed in the common language understood and spoken by all nationalities. Through novels, magazines, short stories, and poetry written in Malay language, the Indonesian culture is passed down to the next generation (Forshee, 2006). Despite the fact that Indonesian literature is growing, many people have not yet embraced it.
Religion is another aspect of culture that is very significant. Australia is a democratic state and people have the freedom to practice any religion. However, Christianity is the most common religion in Australia with around sixty five per cent Australians nationalities being Christians (Charles Sturt University, 2001).
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On the other hand, the Australian culture is very diverse and therefore there are other religions including Buddhist and Muslim which have emerged as a result of migrants such as Chinese who came to Australia in the early 19th century (Charles Sturt University, 2001).
The population of Australia comprises of Catholics who form about 26 per cent, Anglicans, Buddhism, Islam, and Hinduism. Indonesia and Australia have similarities in this category, although Indonesia has the largest Muslim population in the world. The other population comprises of Catholics, and Protestants but some people still practice traditional religion (Richard, 2003). In Indonesia, most people believe in spirits and ancestors.
Marriage is also important in the study of culture. In Indonesia, marriage, family, and kinship are highly valued. Some societies practice marriage within specific lines and an individual cannot marry outside the lineage because the pattern of marriage is meant to promote the social structure (Richard, 2003).
The Sumatra of East Indonesia can marry their distant cousins. In other parts, marriage patterns are determined by family social status since marriage is considered means of moving up the social ladder in the society (Richard, 2003). Polygamy is highly practiced in the Muslim communities. Marriage between members of different ethnic groups is not regularly practiced although it happens in the urban areas (Liddle, 1996).
In Australia, marriage is based on love and social status. Marriage is conducted according to ones religion beliefs. Cohabitation is also a common practice because people feel that as long as they love each other, they have a right to live together. One is eligible to marry whoever they choose and family members cannot decide whom one has to marry although they can give suggestions (Clancy, 2004). Polygamy is not common in Australia.
In conclusion, Australia and Indonesia represents two different cultures with different belief systems. However, the two cultures are similar in one way or the other despite the numerous differences. Because of these differences, it is important that people should appreciate other people’s culture to promote harmony in the society.
Charles Sturt University. (2001). Guide to Australian Culture. Web.
Clancy, L. (2004). Culture and customs of Australia. Westport: Greenwood Publishing Group.
Clyne, G. (2003). Dynamics of language contact: English and immigrant languages.
Cambridge: Cambridge University press.
Forshee, J. (2006). Culture and customs of Indonesia. Westport: Greenwood Publishing Group.
Liddle,W. (1996). Leadership and Culture in Indonesian politics. Sidney: Allen& Unwin.
Richard, B. (2003). Islam, law, and equality in Indonesia: anthropology of public reasoning. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.