Thursday, May 15, 2008

How the US government makes Indonesians hate America

It kept coming up in conversations during my trip to Indonesia: the fact that the United States is a difficult country for Indonesians to visit. First, the US requires Indonesians to undergo an interview before they can get a visa. And if your name is Mohammad, well, forget it -- or so I was told.

"I knew a Mohammed, great guy, an engineer, an employee at (name of big US company). He was denied a visa at the interview. So he couldn't visit headquarters. Of course, with a name like Mohammed, what did he expect?" said one Indonesian male in his late twenties.

"If I didn't have to go on business, I would never choose to travel to the US -- because of the way they treat visitors," said an Indonesian woman -- an executive at another US company in Jakarta. She told me that she had been made to wait for hours in the hot sun outside the US Embassy -- just to have her visa interview ("they don't even have the courtesy to provide a shelter for those waiting outside"). When this lady got to the front of the line, she was told she had to come back another day. The wait for a visa interview was over a month.

How does one do business with Americans if the US makes you wait so long for a visa? Why would any Indonesian choose to trade or do business with the United States?

Indonesia is hardly an exception. Only 27 countries have visa-waivers for the US -- Europe, Australia, Japan, etc. You would think the citizens of these countries have an easier time of it. Suprisingly, that's not necessarily the case.

1 comment:

  1. Once an Indonesian gets a visa. Nine times out of ten they become illegal. Its a major problem. There is a big population of them in the seacoast area of southern Maine and NH. Four Indonesian Churches within 15 mile area of Dover NH. They claim to be god fearing rightious people. There nice people but they are breaking the law. The USA is the best country in the world. But we cant take in everyone.


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