Watatita: The Hardships of Mixed Marriage Couples
Do you know anyone who’s in a mixed marriage? Or are you an expat married to an Indonesian or vice versa? My own parents are a mixed marriage couple. My mother is Australian and my father is Indonesian. My mother often talks about the hardships she experiences throughout her married life. People often give a negative reaction, both from the expat and the Indonesian side, due to the different cultural values and backgrounds.
Yet the worst thing that mixed marriage couples have to deal with is the law in Indonesia that doesn’t support couples who consist of people from two different cultural backgrounds. Many expats who come to Indonesia for work purposes are allowed to work here as long as they possess a work permit visa, and it’s not fair that mixed marriage couples fall under the same category.
Many mixed marriage couples struggle to live in Indonesia because the law says that expats are not allowed to work and earn a living legally here, they’re not allowed to own a house/property – therefore if ever there is an unfortunate situation where their Indonesian spouse dies, they have to sell their house within a year, or the money goes to the government. It’s also hard for them to get a loan, and many mixed marriage couples don’t have prenups usually because of the lack of information.
If expats who are here to be with their Indonesian spouse are not allowed to work, what happens if the Indonesian spouse falls ill and is unable to work? Who’s going to pay the bills?
The only option for an expat who lives in Indonesia, and is married to a local, is to have a permanent stay permit card (KITAP) which has to be renewed every five years. This KITAP still doesn’t allow you to work or own a property in Indonesia.
Mixed marriage couples are urgently waiting for the implementation of the new laws. Hopefully these new mixed marriage laws are not a watered-down version of what was passed in the parliament. Shouldn’t the government support the mixed marriage families? Maybe this is God’s way of creating world peace. He’s trying to tell us, we’re all the same, and we can love each other even if you’re from different cultures and backgrounds.
An expat while waiting at the immigration office was asked by an officer, “Which do you love more, Indonesia or Australia?”
The expat answered, “I love them both equally. Love doesn’t divide, it multiplies.”
There are so many mixed marriage couples out there who would love to reside in Indonesia, but the laws and the public view in Indonesia still doesn’t support them. These multiple problems are caused by ignorance, prejudice and suspicion. You wonder why people would go through all of that.
Ah, the power of love.