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On Lombok, people have a different sense of time …

For the project, uur first mission on Lombok is about to begin. After the project's good start in Germany, new challenges await us.

10/01/2012

Although we finance the trip ourselves, it cannot be considered a vacation. Business negotiations in Indonesia are difficult and tedious. It's not a proper behavior to talk about business on the first meeting. First priority is to getting to know each other. The Indonesians want to know with whom they are dealing with, whether one is sympathetic. A positive atmosphere is crucial and all participants should feel comfortable.

For foreigners, the Indonesian's very relaxed relationship to time arrangements can be a bit strange at first. The time for an appointment is seen as a rough guide. And we are not talking about fifteen minutes. The meeting will take place within a span of two hours around the given time. An appointment at 2 p.m. means sometime in the afternoon.

Especially exciting are visits to the authorities. Indonesia is a state of bureaucrats. Every little task is accompanied by a mass of documents that need to be collected on an obscure sequence of different places. The prevailing high level of corruption does not make things easier. Paying an "acceleration fee" is required in most cases.

On Lombok we have Indonesian helpers who support us. Especially administrative matters would be barely manageable without them. Also, in negotiations locals get much better prices than foreigners who are regarded as filthy rich.  

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