It depends. Yes, if you are question whether it is polite or not to kiss someone in public while you are here, in Indonesia, the answers vary. In one place you may find people more permissive than the others. Therefore, you shouldn’t and can’t make generalization.
There are many things to consider before you make your kissing action, culture, society, as well as rules. As explained in my previous article, that there are more than 30 provinces and also a thousand of ethnics in this archipelago. Each province has their own regulation like an ethnic has their own norms.
For example, the Special Region of Aceh issued many laws based on Islamic Syariah rules. As you may have heard, Islam prohibit to show affection between male and female in public, even if you ara spouse. That makes a kiss between both genders in front of public is strictly prohibited. The perpetrators of such action can face a court. There are several other province or cities, even though formally not applying Islamic Syariah like Aceh but also have similar laws.
However, if you go to the Capital of Indonesia, Jakarta, you will find different atmosphere in this Big Durian. the nickname of Jakarta. Hugs and cheek kisses are quite a custom among the society, even between two different genders. But, still having a french kiss, with your tongue in the mouth of your partner may cause some blushes on the faces of people who see your action.
Kiss in Indonesia Society
Westerners may have difficulties to understand as they think Indonesia is a democratic country, so why can’t such simple action showing your feeling be done openly.
That’s not 100% wrong but also not 100% correct.
Yes, Indonesia, as a country, as adopted democracy, especially for our political system and many other aspects in our daily life. However, deep inside, majority of Indonesians are still Easterners. They are accustomed to keep private matter behind closed door.
Furthermore, people in Indonesia have adopted Islamic culture since centuries ago. Most of their habit have been formed based on the Islam culture in many ways. Showing passion openly and publicly is not allowed in Islam, not only for them who have not been bound by marriage, but also for husband and wife.
However, there have been many signs that in some bigger cities or places where contacts with foreign culture often occur, like tourist destinations, the tight has loosen up a bit. Like in Jakarta or Bali, the places where contacts between locals and foreigners happen the most, you may see couple passionately kissing each other, but not still not so many.
Some other signs are shown in the form of Indonesia movies. Donot expect to find kissing scenes inside Indonesian movies made twenty years ago but nowadays, there are getting more and more films containing, even, french kisses between Indonesian female or males.
I am not sure the scenes can pass the censorship of Indonesia Censor bureau but informally, such scenes could be found on Youtube. Probably, if the movies target Indonesia market, then, nobody will see those actions.
In Indonesia, is there a law againts kissing in public?
I tried to find the law, explicitly mention kissing in public prohibition. However, there are many decency or ethical laws that prohibit the acts that show passion. A bit ambiguous, actually. It can be interpretated quite wide that may include passionate kissing as one of the acts prohibited.
If someone feels disturbed by seeing in public kissing, they can report you to police. Even though, probably the police judgment may take side on you but it may also differ in another place, depending what interpretation the officer believes. If this happens, it can cause you quite a problem to explain to the authority.
So, my friends, may I suggest you something.
No matters the longing you feel for your lovers, please take a brake a bit before giving her or him a passionate french kiss. Keep it for few hours until you are inside a room with closed door. You won’t have a problem that can drag you from a moment you have been waiting for.
Just give him or her, a slight cheek kiss that you miss him/her a lot. A hug can work but keep the rest a bit later.